Brace yourself for traffic jams and honking horns, the event of the summer that infuriates New York City drivers the most is back with a vengeance. Summer Streets begin this Saturday and while bridge and tunnel commuters across the city are throwing up their hands in frustration, DOT commissioner Sadik-Kahn tells pedestrians, don’t forget to try the zip line!
August 4 is the first of three consecutive Saturdays this month when New Yorkers are encouraged to hang out in the nearly seven miles of car-free streets that will stretch from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. In addition to programs held in previous years such as picnic areas, exercise and dance classes, bicycle and rollerblade rentals and a rock-climbing wall, this year summer streets will also feature a yoga pop-up park and a 160-foot zip line.
Some of the more bizarre events on the program highlight the urban backdrop. “Truck’s Eye View” encourages summer street attendees to get behind the wheel of a truck to see how truck drivers see the roadway as part of a safety initiative. And, in a venture that would only truly jive with a populace raised on 90’s hip hop and urban heat waves, a fire hydrant sprinkler will be available at 52nd Street.
The programming this month will also include collaborations with the Urban Art Program to create four temporary installations. “Bench Press” will offer collapsible benches exploring public seating in major areas. “Bus Roots” will repurpose bus rooftops into mobile gardens. “Cyclo-phone” is an exhibit of two bike powered musical instruments that will be found at Astor Place. And lastly, “LOVE TV” will invite New Yorkers to share stories of New York City.
Overall, the summer streets program will highlight the recent initiatives put forth by the city, encouraging fitness and environmentalism. In what perhaps might be a reference to the notion of spending a portion of your Saturday at summer streets in the front seat of a truck, Commisioner Sadik-Kahn said in a press release he hopes that “New Yorkers can reach new heights of fun on the first three Saturdays in August.”