New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg today announced the return of Summer Streets this year for its eighth installment. Summer Streets 2015 will take place on Saturdays August 1st, 8th and 15th from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. The theme this year is accessibility—providing opportunities for all members of the public to experience NYC streets in new ways through participation in unique, interactive activations, which transform our streets into spaces of play, fitness and relaxation.
Since 2008, the New York City Department of Transportation has presented Summer Streets along nearly seven miles of Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park where Park Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic and opens to the public with many free activities for all ages. Last year, 300,000 people attended Summer Streets and enjoyed hundreds of exciting free events along the route.
“This year, Summer Streets is about enjoying one of our most valuable public spaces – our streets – in innovative ways,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Whether you want to slide on water, bike, run, play soccer, take a self-guided architectural tour or play with your dog, our streets are an accessible and fun place for city residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy those activities.”
New to Summer Streets this year is Slide the City presented by Vita Coco Coconut Water, a 270-foot water slide based at “Vita Coco Beach” on the Foley Square Rest Stop where participants can slide down and cool off during the hot summer mornings. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to slide through the streets of New York City on a tube. Participants must register in advance online at www.nyc.gov/summerstreets.
Also at Foley Square Summer Streets features a stop at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital’s Soccer Zone presented by NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan in collaboration with Weill Cornell Physicians. The Soccer Zone will encourage visitors to learn freestyle soccer tricks, participate in a 20-minute street soccer game, watch a performance by well-known freestyle soccer players Frankie Flo and Spinny Vinny or join Wheeling Forward for training sessions and live games of power soccer, a powered wheelchair based sport. The general public will be invited to participate in the power soccer sessions with loaner power wheelchairs available. The freestyle soccer activation will also be presented by Summer Streets at a Weekend Walks event, Boogie on the Boulevard, in the Bronx on Sundays August 2nd, 9th and 16th.
On August 15, visitors can join professional soccer players for interactive performances at Foley Square courtesy of the New York City Football Club sponsored by NewYork-Presbyterian. On the same Saturday, Teresa Fellion Dance Company will present, The Mantises Are Flipping W.3 at 26 Federal Plaza, an engaging movement and sound installation that allows visitors to walk through a world of movement that is similar to the board game, Candy Land.
New to Summer Streets this year is the American Kennel Club’s Dog Park at the Astor Place Rest Stop. Dogs are invited to take a break from the route and roll around on a grassy knoll, hang out in the family-friendly picnic area, make new friends and cool off in small pools. Dogs can play freely within a designated 100 square-foot dog run or try the agility course. Owners can also commemorate their experience with their pup by taking a trip to the WOOFtale photo booth and getting helpful tips on responsible dog ownership as well as free gifts.
Also at the Astor Place Rest Stop, for the first time this year visitors will have an opportunity to test out a handcycle on an organized bike circuit around Cooper Square at the Rest Stop and share their opinion about the experience. Summer Streets looks forward to riders’ feedback as these accounts will contribute to possible development of a citywide handcycle initiative in the future.
Summer Streets is also teaming up this year again with Culture NOW to present a self-guided public art walking tour and a self-guided architectural walking tour. Participants can follow the self-guided tours by picking up a copy of the map at the Astor Place Rest Stop, printing the PDF at home, or following along on an interactive iPhone app, CultureNOW’s Guidebook to the Museum Without Walls. The public can also register to join guided walking tours with historians along the route organized in partnership with Culture NOW, the Municipal Art Society and the American Institute of Architects.
Returning to the event this year is the Whole Foods Market Summer Camp at the Midtown Rest Stop, and the popular 165-foot-long, 30-foot-high zip line, this year located on Leonard Street adjacent to the Foley Square Rest Stop. At the Midtown Rest Stop, DOT Safety Education will provide free bike helmet fittings for adults and children, and at the Uptown Rest Stop, will host a Safety Zone, which features the popular “Truck’s Eye View” and other safety education activities. At the SoHo Rest Stop, visitors can participate in a variety of fitness classes led by Crunch Gym instructors throughout the day.
At the Uptown Rest Stop, Movement Creative is returning to Summer Streets to teach Parkour techniques, including running, climbing, swinging and jumping. New to Rudin Plaza this year will be an interactive arts and crafts workshop by artist Connie Perry entitled, The Postcard Project, in which members of the public will be invited to decorate postcards. Also this year, a number of nonprofit organizations are offering workshops or demonstrations along the route, and as in past years, bike rental will be offered at the Uptown Rest Stop, Midtown Rest Stop and the SoHo Rest Stop, and Rollerblade rental at the Midtown Rest Stop.
All along the route, the public will be able to discover thirty art signs produced by local artist Stephen Powers entitled, “ICY SIGNS.” These signs will surprise and delight passersby offering them clever food for thought. Visitors are encouraged to try to locate them all along the route.
Many City agencies will be participating at Summer Streets 2015 including the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs offering arts and crafts workshops, and the Department of Environmental Protection supplying mobile drinking fountains along the route, amongst other City agencies. The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, NYPD and FDNY also support Summer Street 2015.
For more information, including a route map and street closure information, visit nyc.gov/dot or nyc.gov/summerstreets.