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April 2, 2024
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NYC DOT to Launch Open Streets Season with Expanded Celebration for Car-Free Earth Day

NYC DOT will celebrate the 54th anniversary of Earth Day on Saturday, April 20, with seven signature car-free streets and 46 community-organized locations as part of Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day

Citi Bike will offer free one-day passes to all riders

Colorful illustration of a green cityscape with trees, butterflies, and a cyclist in front of N Y C scenes.

NEW YORK — New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced today the largest-ever Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day — with a record number of car-free streets and extended hours of operation. The annual event, hosted by NYC DOT, makes select city streets car-free and promotes activism and education surrounding climate change, environmentalism, and sustainable modes of transportation. The event also marks the official start of the city's Open Streets and Public Space Programming season.

"Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day encourages New Yorkers to leave their vehicles at home and appreciate our streets as shared open spaces for all," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "As part of the city's largest-ever Car-Free Earth Day celebration, will be hosting programming, music, and other activities at dozens of car-free streets around New York City. And new, temporary public art will help us remember: We only have one planet -- and we must all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint and respect our environment."

This year's Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day, sponsored by WABC, will include 53 car-free streets and plazas across the five boroughs, with locations featuring public art or community programming—up from 30 locations as part of 2023's event. NYC DOT will also be extending car-free operations by one hour, with car-free streets running from 10 am and 4 pm.

Through the support of Lyft, on Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day, Citi Bike will offer unlimited 30-minute rides on a classic Citi Bike for 24 hours. Riders can take advantage of the offer by using the promo code CARFREE24 in the Citi Bike app.

Signature event locations are listed below and the additional 46 community-organized locations can be found at NYC DOT also announced it has selected four artists to provide temporary, environmentally focused works along certain routes. Natalie Wood will be presenting EcoHarmony, a grouping of repurposed furniture transformed into luscious organic sculptures through live plants, showcasing the potential of nature reclaiming the built environment. To foster a nurturing relationship with our planet, she will be giving away 1,000 plants. Kelp Parade, a collaborative piece between Amanda Thackray and Wendel Jeffrey, will bring a dynamic kelp forest to life through 24 flags made from upcycled plastic bags, activated through movement and sound throughout the day. And Lyubava Kroll will be designing a series of Keep NYC Green graphics for aluminum signage installed on streetlight poles throughout the boroughs that envision a greener future for our city.


First launched in 2016, Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day originally converted select Manhattan streets into public plazas and car-free streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and local businesses. The launch of the 2024 Open Street season comes after the NYC DOT has awarded $30 million in contracts to expand resources available to in-need Open Streets, plazas, and other public spaces. Expanded resources include staffing, permitting and administrative support, community outreach, promotion, fundraising, grant writing, and more.


Dyckman Street
Route: Broadway to La Marina
St. Nicholas Avenue
Route: 181st Street to 190th Street
Route: East 17th Street to West 46th Street

Fifth Avenue
Route: 40th Street to 45th Street

Woodside Avenue
Route: 75th Street to 78th Street

The Bronx
East 188th Street
Route: East Fordham Road to Grand Concourse
Creston Avenue
Route: East 188th Street to East Fordham Road

Staten Island
Port Richmond Avenue
Route: Post Avenue to Castleton Avenue

"My vision for the Keep NYC Green signage series revolves around utilizing art as a catalyst for change, aiming to inspire New Yorkers to adopt sustainable practices and reimagine the urban environment in their daily lives," said Lyubava Kroll, Car-Free Earth Day signage artist. "The bright, abstract, and clean visual style in each design celebrates the positive and forward-thinking ways of embracing green living in NYC. By merging my interests in sustainability with my background in art and design, my goal is to promote a collective environmental consciousness, fostering a deeper sense of community, belonging, and responsibility for our planet."

"We invite the public to join the Kelp Parade in a show of environmental stewardship and oceanic resilience. We are inspired by kelp and other seaweeds because they support healthy ocean ecosystems by sequestering carbon, buffering against ocean acidification, and curb coastal erosion," said Amanda Thackray and Wendell Jeffrey, Car-Free Earth Day installation artists. "Set against the open sky, mirroring the ocean depths, and marched to the rhythm of an aquatic sound piece by Bryan Elkins, the parade advocates for collective action to safeguard marine habitats."

"With EcoHarmony I will create an immersive installation that transforms everyday furniture pieces into vibrant ecosystems of environmental awareness and community engagement. By seamlessly integrating natural elements and recycled materials, I aim for my sculpture to serve as a beacon of resilience," said Natalie Wood, Car-Free Earth Day installation artist. "By envisioning the infusion of everyday furniture pieces with greenery and sustainable infrastructure, I provide a tangible example of how urban environments can thrive in harmony with nature. EcoHarmony not only addresses the pressing issues of climate change and pollution but also becomes a catalyst for community cohesion and environmental education, illustrating how the two can cohabitate together."

“Every year the people of my district look forward to Open Streets: Car Free Earth Day,” said US Representative Jerrold Nadler. “This is a day you see children, families, and the whole diversity of our district enjoying walking and bicycling the length of Broadway from E 17th St to West 46th St. The pleasure people take in having the opportunity to walk and ride in peace and quiet, with the lack of noise from cars and freedom from worry of traffic is profound. This day shows our city at its best, in which the streets are safer, the environment is celebrated, and recreation is affordable and fun. I am glad to see the expansion of Open across the City and applaud NYCDOT for its efforts to make this very popular day possible.”

"This Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate our city's open space and a reminder of how we can all contribute to a more sustainable New York. I encourage everyone to spend time on an Open Street, take a free Citi Bike Ride, and check out the signature art exhibitions showcasing our commitment to a greener, more vibrant future," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "Congratulations to DOT Commissioner Rodriguez for building on the success of and continuing to grow Car-Free Earth Day."

"Car-free streets are more than a celebration of Earth Day, they're a chance for New Yorkers to see the sustainable, green, healthy city of the future that's within reach," said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. "By investing in public transit and encouraging a shift away from private vehicles, we can achieve a future where our streets are safer, air is cleaner, and neighborhoods are more livable. I'm so excited that NYC DOT will be not only upping the number of car-free streets but increasing the hours of operations as well, and I hope to see all of New York enjoying the great outdoors in honor of Earth Day."

"I'm thrilled to celebrate Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day in Queens and across the city again this year." said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "This event is a great way to encourage city residents to reduce our reliance on cars and to take other steps that will reduce our city's carbon footprint and help limit the negative impacts of climate change, which we have already started to feel. I look forward to the Car Free Earth Day festivities that will take place on Woodside Avenue in Elmhurst, which will be a great launching point for DOT's highly anticipated Open Streets and Public Space Programming season."

"Thrilled to hear 5th Ave Sunset Park is included in this year's Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day event! On Earth Day, we show appreciation to our environment, foster civic engagement, and teach the importance of healthier choices for our planet," said State Senator Iwen Chu. "Closing the streets will promote lowering gas emissions, while giving families sorely needed public open space. I look forward to the ongoing work with NYC Department of Transportation to ensure our streets are better and safer for all residents."

"As a devoted cyclist, I'm profoundly grateful for the expansion of Car-Free Earth Day across our city streets, a testament to prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists while fostering a greener, more sustainable future. It's a transformative effort by the New York City Department of Transportation, reclaiming our streets from vehicular dominance and paving the way for a healthier planet, one car-free street at a time," said State Senator Robert Jackson. "I commend the DOT for these car-free streets serving as avenues of possibilities, connecting communities in a shared celebration of environmental stewardship and the pursuit of sustainable living."

"By pedestrianizing spaces and opening our streets to people, we have unlocked so much creativity and made our communities stronger, safer, and more vibrant. Car-Free Earth Day is a wonderful annual event that reimagines our relationship with the built environment and raises awareness about climate change and more sustainable forms of transportation," said Councilmember Carlina Rivera. "I commend the administration for their continued commitment to pedestrianizing streets and plazas to create safe public space for families."

"Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day is the most aspirational day of the year when we see how much safer, cleaner, and more vibrant the city can be when our streets are reclaimed for people," said Ken Podziba, CEO of Bike New York. "This day is a glimpse into what we hope the city's future will look more like and we can't thank Commissioner Rodriguez enough for taking this great New York tradition, which he founded in 2016, and once again expanding it so that more New Yorkers can enjoy the fun and excitement of car-free streets. We encourage parents to bring their children to Washington Heights where Bike New York will be hosting free Learn to Ride classes."

"Car Free Earth Day celebrates the simple truth that a planet with fewer cars is a planet with a brighter future," said Emily Chingay, citywide engagement advocate, Open Plans. "We love to see DOT lean into this day by giving New Yorkers more opportunities to experience the joy of car-free streets and the power of how a livable city helps create a sustainable future for all of us. We can't wait to kick off public space season with a bang and celebrate the many ways that car-free streets make our lives, and planet, better!"

"NYC DOT's Car Free Earth Day will at once give our lungs a respite from the filthy tailpipe pollution we breathe in daily while also reclaiming miles of city space for recreation, enjoyment, and the safe use of bikes and other micro-mobility vehicles," said Alia Soomro, deputy director for NYC policy, New York City League of Conservation Voters. "Part action and part inspiration, April 20 is going to be a wonderful day for New Yorkers to immerse themselves in a car-free urban landscape and NYLCV can't wait to be part of it!"

"The Garment District Alliance is looking forward to welcoming Chakaia Booker's Shaved Portions exhibit to our neighborhood this spring," said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. "Chakaia's thoughtfully comprised sculpture transforms salvaged rubber tires into a beautiful work of art, and perfectly complements the New York City Department of Transportation's Car-Free Earth Day event mission. We're grateful to our partners at DOT for establishing this special annual event, and whether New Yorkers are walking through the neighborhood or cycling."

"With nearly 6 billion tires from close to 1.5 billion cars on the road we will need creative solutions to new and sustainable transportation. Even if the roads are free of cars, we will still have the tires," said Chakaia Booker, artist of public artwork presented by Garment District Alliance. "One of the many conversations I hope my work instigates and participates in is a look towards those creative solutions, considering holistically the details, the people, and the way a change of perspective evolves one's thinking."