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As Summer Enters Full Swing, New York City Builds "Cool Streets" Onto Nation-Leading Open Streets Program

July 7, 2020

Cool It! NYC program will expand cooling options on existing Open Streets with tree-based shade and hydrants, focusing on heat-burdened communities

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled the first set of “Cool Streets” for this summer, announcing expanded cooling options on existing Open Streets in the most heat-burdened parts of New York City. The Cool It! NYC program prioritizes new cooling options on blocks in vulnerable neighborhoods with the highest tree-based shade and fire hydrants with spray caps. During heat advisories, NYCDEP and FDNY will proactively install spray caps on these streets’ hydrants to ensure every New Yorker living in a heat-burdened community is within 1/4 mile of an outdoor cooling element.

The Cool Streets initiative focuses on Open Streets in areas that rank highest on the Heat Vulnerability Index, which uses social and environmental factors to understand how heat-related health risks vary across NYC neighborhoods. The City is prioritizing its cooling efforts on HVI 4 and 5 zones, the most heat burdened communities, to serve vulnerable residents during extreme heat events. A citywide map of cooling elements can be found online at Cool It! NYC. To find the nearest cooling element or Cool Street, visit Cool It! NYC. DOT’s Open Streets map will also highlight each Cool Street across the city.

“New Yorkers are in for a long, hot summer, and staying cool is an essential part of physical health, mental health, and public safety,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re excited to build on our popular Open Streets program and find creative ways to fight back against COVID-19 by giving New Yorkers the public space they deserve.”

“Summer is very much here, and we need all of the tools at our disposal to keep New Yorkers safe and cool - especially during such unprecedented times," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "We have seen the success of our Open Streets program across the five boroughs, so it only made sense to find ways to utilize these streets with our broader cooling strategy. While we encourage New Yorkers to remain inside as much as possible during extreme heat events, these Cool Streets will give our most vulnerable New Yorkers a spot to stay cool outdoors when the city heats up."

Under the Cool It! NYC program, the City is activating 250 new cooling elements – in addition to the existing 950 – and proactively adding spray caps to 320 fire hydrants during hot weather. The City has already installed over 32,000 air conditioners for low-income seniors.

“We are taking every step to ensure our heat vulnerable neighborhoods will have sufficient outdoor options to Cool It! this summer. Cool Streets is another tool we can use to beat the heat, and I am proud our City agencies and partners have banded together to provide this necessary relief to New Yorkers, especially on the hottest days,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell.

“Running through the spray of a fire hydrant is a venerable New York City tradition and a sign that summer is in full swing,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are proud of the work we and our agency partners have done so far to create Open Streets and protected bike lanes across the five boroughs, and these new Cool Streets will make this program better, safer and more fun when the temperatures get high.”

“With the City’s new Cool Streets initiative, New Yorkers will have more opportunities than ever to stay cool safely this summer, taking advantage of brand new open streets and our city’s extensive tree canopy,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "The addition of these new Cool Streets, and our brand new Cool It! NYC map which highlights existing and new cooling features, provides residents even more new, innovative ways to stay cool and beat the heat this summer.”

“The fire hydrant spay cap program has always been popular as it provides a safe way for New Yorkers to stay cool while also maintaining adequate pressure in our water mains for fire fighters and hospitals,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  “NYC water is refreshing and healthy and this summer it will also be an integral part of the “Cool Streets” program!”

“Extreme heat can be dangerous, especially for older adults and those with chronic conditions,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Finding relief from the heat – both outdoors and inside with air conditioning – is important to maintaining good health through the summer, especially for those most at risk of heat-related illness.”

“The effort of staying cool during our city’s increasingly hot summers is one of survival for our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Mark Chambers, Director of Sustainability. “By reimagining our physical streets to better serve New Yorkers on the frontlines of the pandemic, we are beginning the work of empathy and justice critical to our COVID recovery and to our climate change resistance.”

Cool Streets include:






East Harlem

101st St

Park Ave

3rd Ave


W. 117th St

Morningside Ave

5th Ave


W. 138th St

Lenox Ave

Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd

Hamilton Heights

Edgecombe Ave

St. Nicholas Pl

W. 145th St 






New Lots

Blake Ave

Miller St

Hindsdale St

Boerum Hill

Wyckoff St

Nevins St

3rd Ave


Williams Ave

Liberty Ave

Atlantic Ave

Red Hook

Henry St

Lorraine St

Bay St

Ft. Greene

N Elliott Pl

Park Ave

Flushing Ave







Trinity Ave

E 166 St

E 161 St

Mott Haven

E 140th St

Brook Ave

Willis Ave

Mott Haven

Jackson Ave

E 143rd St

E 147th St






South Richmond Hill

120th St

Atlantic Ave

Liberty Ave


39th Ave

Woodside Ave

Barnett Ave

"As summer heats up, it is important to give New Yorkers the resources and opportunities they need to beat the heat. The Cool Streets Initiative will help New Yorkers stay cool during the hot summer weather," said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.

Mayor de Blasio announced 23 more miles of Open Streets – including 9 miles of new protected bike lanes – in late June, bringing the City’s nation-leading program to a citywide total of 67 miles.

Under Open Streets, pedestrians and cyclists are free to use the roadbed of each street. No through traffic is permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service, utility, and emergency vehicles only. Such drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes. Open streets hours are from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM but may vary slightly depending on staff availability.

Organizations wishing to have other New York City streets considered for the Open Streets program should reach out to fill out an online survey. More information is available at

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