Press Releases

Press Release #08-028

DOT Announces Summer Streets Photo Competition

Amateur photographers are invited to take advantage of car-free streets for camera adventure on the second day of Summer Streets, August 16th

Alvin Ailey dance class for children, rollerblading, and Polish Theater Institute musical performance are among many new activities available

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the Summer Streets Photo Competition, calling on New York's amateur photographers to make the seven-mile car-free route the scene for their creativity this Saturday and to capture the spirit of Summer Streets. In addition to first prize and children's prizes, awards will be given out in five categories, including street scenes, portraiture, landscaping and architecture, reportage and sustainable transportation. The winning photos, determined by a jury of professional photographers, photo editors, and curators, will be exhibited this fall at a photo gallery and at City bike shelters, and they also will be used to help DOT document Summer Streets for future planning and to inspire cities around the world which are considering similar events. Photos can be submitted from any of the three Summer Streets days-Aug. 9th, 16th or 23rd.

"Summer Streets offers photographers access to vantage points usually completely off-limits to amateurs and most professionals, including the Grand Central viaduct," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "It's an amazing opportunity to capture the beauty of New Yorkers interacting in a whole new way-strolling, cycling, and just hanging out along nearly seven car-free miles."

Hundreds of photographers took to the streets last Saturday for the successful first day of Summer Streets, drawn to the historic and median-lined streetscapes of Park Avenue and Lafayette Street for both video and still photography. Hundreds, if not thousands of these images are now posted on Internet sites, and a short documentary on Summer Streets made by independent filmmaker Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been viewed over 12,000 times at

In addition to the contest, there will be new event programming scheduled, notably the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which will teach a dance class for children at the Uptown rest stop. Team in Training will lead runs from the Midtown rest stop and Crunch gyms is holding classes at 24th street and outside their gyms on Lafayette and on 4th Avenue. Last week, Bike New York taught scores of New Yorkers how to ride bikes and they are gearing up to do it again, this time on Centre Street between Worth and Reade, with more space for classes.

In another first for Summer Streets, skate-share and skate repair will be available at the Uptown Rest Stop on Park between 51st and 52nd Street, and people can enjoy an organized bike ride or group run, a performance by the Polish Theater Institute Performance, yoga, cardio tai box, Pilates, sit aerobics. Additional bicycles will also be added to bike-share stations, and New Yorkers and visitors are invited to come out and take part in any or all of the above or just people-watch and picnic.

A full schedule of activities and details about the photo competition are available at

Basic Rules of Summer Streets Photography Competition:

Each participant may submit up to 10 images.

All entries must be taken during Summer Streets events and submitted digitally by Aug. 31st (specific submission rules are on our Web site).

There will be one First Place winner, five category winners, and two youth winners (age 12 and under and ages 13-18).

The five categories include:

1. Street scenes

2. Portraiture

3. Landscaping and architecture

4. Reportage (a series of 2-5 images documenting a story, idea, experience)

5. Sustainable transportation (bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, feet)


The jury will be composed of professional photographers, photo editors, and curators. Entries will be judged on creativity, technical composition, and how well the images capture and translate the event. Winners will be announced mid-September 2008.

Jury Members:

  • Miriam Romais: Executive Director and Editor of En Foco and Nueva Luz Photographic Journal, a non-profit organization that nurtures and supports contemporary fine art and documentary photographers of diverse cultures, primarily U.S. residents of Latino, African and Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and the Pacific.
  • Patrick Amsellem: Associate Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum. Formerly a curator at the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden, Patrick has taught at New York University and is the author of several exhibition catalogues. He received a Ph.D. in Art History from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts.
  • Deborah Willis: Professor at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Deborah has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture.
  • Ilan Rubin: Professional photographer, clients include The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Bon Appetit, T Magazine, Vera Wang

Please be advised the following major cross-town routes will remain open to traffic during Summer Streets:

Chambers Street
Worth Street
Canal Street
Broome Street
East Houston Street
W.8th/9th Streets
14th Street
23rd Street
30th Street
34th Street
36th/37th Streets
41st, 42nd, 45th Streets
49th/50th Streets
53rd/54th Streets
57th Street
59th Street
65th/66th Streets
72nd Street (westbound only)