The New York City Department of Transportation continues to celebrate 10 years of Summer Streets, the annual car-free streets program that converts the city’s busiest streets into car-free public spaces. In collaboration with Citi, DOT will host Summer Streets on the next two Saturdays, August 12th and 19th, ; 7am until 1pm along Park Avenue, Lafayette, and Centre Streets from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge.
As part of Citi Summer Streets, new public art installations will be on display at each of the six rest stops. This year’s installations were curated in response to the 2017 event theme: storytelling through the five senses. Without the noise and congestion of vehicular traffic, Citi Summer Streets participants’ sensory experience is quite different than that of an average day in New York City. This year’s art installations explore this theme by offering the public unique moments to experience the streets in new ways – to see, hear, taste, smell and feel at a heightened state as if for the first time.
Among this year’s public art highlights at Summer Streets:
Food Sessions: The signature art activation this year, Food Sessions, is a pop-up art installation that magnifies all five senses and allows each participant to have a distinct experience. Designed by Daily tous les jours and Nico Fonseca with guest chef John Mooney, Food Sessions is a silent disco for the tongue. Summer Street goers are asked to participate both physically and mentally in this installation; each participant will eat a plate of food while being guided by wireless headphones, through a sensory experience. The guided soundtrack prompts participants to investigate the art of eating by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. The soundtrack evokes memories and emotions associated with the plate of food. Participants will also be asked to text in their thoughts and the responses will appear on a screen at the end of the table allowing all participants to collectively experience the thoughts of both friends and strangers. Food Sessions will be offered four times a day at 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 10:00 am and 11:15 am. Tickets are released each Tuesday before the respective Summer Streets’ Saturday. Food Sessions is presented by Citi with product donated by Noosa, Nature’s Path and Honest Tea.
“Smell Walks”: The DOT Art program also partnered with a series of other artists and designers to uniquely execute this year’s theme. To activate the sense of smell, DOT collaborated with designer Kate McLean to produce a smellmap of the Astor Place neighborhood. Over the past few months, three “smellwalks” were hosted in partnership with the Village Alliance, local residents and stakeholders to gather smell data. Participants were asked to explore the environment strictly through their sense of smell by smell catching (receiving smell info), smell hunting (searching for smell info) and lastly, free smelling (a mini smell research project). The smell data was collected and the findings were visualized into a vibrant colorful smellmap. McLean will be on-site to lead two walks at 9 am and 11 am to continue building on this research and we invite participants to incorporate their findings into a large-scale smellmap. Interested participants must register for a scheduled tour online.
PULSUS Sculpture: To explore the sense of touch, DOT Art commissioned Allen Sayegh of invivia to design and produce PULSUS, an ambient, interactive, and experimental sculpture. It is a distinctive seating element made from polished concrete that hums and mists based on sensory reactions. We invite participants to sit down and cool off and experience the uniqueness of this sculpture.
Interactive Dance: DOT also encourages visitors to explore the senses of sight and sound through interactive dance performances, created by Choreographer and Artistic Director Tiffany Rea-Fisher of Elisa Monte Dance company. There will be live music, theatrical performances, and fun interactive audience engagement pieces that encourages participants to document their experience through social media. Each performance will begin at 11 am.
Flipbook and Selfie Station: DOT is also inviting the public to step back in time with our Then and Now: Summer Streets Route booklet that provides a comparison between New York today and that of 100 years ago. DOT Art designed and produced this historical flipbook that highlights the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of several streetscapes at the six rest stops. Historical photos, collected from the New York Public Library and the Museum of the City of New York, are overlaid onto present day photos in the flipbook alongside historical maps from 1916 and fun historical facts. Citi Summer Streets participants can pick-up a flipbook and take a picture at the ‘selfie’ station at the Uptown Rest Stop at 50th Street and Park Avenue. A large-scale banner will be positioned where the photograph was originally captured 100 years ago.
In its tenth summer, Summer Streets is a family friendly, car-free zone that offers New Yorkers an amazing way to be active and enjoy free and fun activities. With a plethora of new art installations, DOT encourages everyone to stop by one of six rest stops and join in the fun.
For more information about Citi Summer Streets, including a route map and street closure information, please visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/summerstreets. www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/summerstreets