NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly seven miles of Manhattan streets, from Park Avenue at 72nd Street down to Washington Square Park all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge, were shut down to traffic Saturday for this year’s first Summer Streets event.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

Claire Dorothy of Brooklyn told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck that the event was liberating.

“It’s wonderful. It’s just exciting to be able to ride through the streets and not have to worry about the cars,” she said.

“I can’t wait to come back next week. It’s nice and empty and it’s really a free feeling to be able to ride through this beautiful city,” she added.

CBS 2’s Katie Fehlinger was in SoHo, sampling the outdoor fare, and found out what it’s like to go rock climbing on asphalt.

“There’s so much going on down here. I’m having a blast. I’m going to hang out after the broadcast and just do everything because there’s so much fun stuff to do,” she said.

“Summer Streets takes a valuable public space – our City’s streets – and opens them up to people to play, walk, bike, and breathe. Summer Streets provides more space for healthy recreation and is a part of NYC’s greening initiative by encouraging New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation,” according to the Department of Transportation.

This year’s other two Summer Streets events will be held on August 13 and 20.

For more information, click here.

Are you a fan of the Summer Streets events? Sound off in our comments section below…

Comments (34)
  1. J. Danzig says:

    To people here who are happy to see streets without motorists — even for a few hours — do you really think with the high price of gas and tolls there are that many motorists joy riding in Manhattan these days? Most motorists who venture into the city these days either have no acceptable form of mass transit, or they need to transport something — or they’re operating a motor vehicle for work. In comparison, the bike riders in the Summer Streets event are strictly riding for fun — which is fine, but there are paths on the rivers and in Central Park where they can ride for fun all year round.

  2. Ed Ravin says:

    As a volunteer at one of the bike repair tables, I fixed problems with both $50 Huffy bikes as well as fancy high-end $$$ racing bikes. People from all income levels were out there having fun. Summer Streets is one of the most accessible events sponsored by the city – the only barrier is getting up early!

  3. Mike says:

    Wonderful event, but it should have lasted much longer. It was bizarre to see it ended while it was in full swing. I guess I’ll try to get there earlier next time.

  4. J. Danzig says:

    Sue, residents of Third Avenue probably don’t feel the impact of Summer Streets on Park Avenue. At 70th Street, you’re also two blocks from the northern limit of the program as I understand it. Folks living on the blocks on either side of Park Avenue are the ones feeling the inconvenience. I wouldn’t mind if the Summer Streets program would move from area to area every year and spread the burden, but unfortunately Park Avenue seems to have become the permanent host of the event and it’s a pain.

    1. JoAnn says:

      I live on Park and 32nd Street and also love love love love love this event. You can find cranks out there who hate anything and live anywhere, but I don’t think this is such a big deal. J, why aren’t you complaining about the awful traffic that happens all the time on Park Avenue!?!?!? Are you seriously that upset over three days? Three days!!! You can wake up any weekday and find terrible traffic on Park Avenue up and down for hours, spewing exhaust and honking and making the place unlivable. I’m glad we get a breather for half a day here and there.

      1. J. Danzig says:

        JoAnn, I agree about the terrible traffic on Park Avenue during the weekdays, but it’s a different situation during weekend mornings and afternoons. I noticed how much more peaceful and quiet Park Avenue South was about an hour AFTER the Summer Streets event had ended on Saturday. If you wanted to find some spewing exhaust and honking Saturday during the event, you had only to walk a block east to Lexington and witness the chaos over there.

  5. J. Danzig says:

    I also have to question the cost of this program, at a time when we’re laying off teachers, cutting back transit service, and closing firehouses. Unless, of course, the city is making up the money by towing the cars parked on the blocks adjacent to the Summer Streets event… Great!

    1. stu says:

      I have to question the cost of road repair and free parking on city streets at a time when we’re laying off teachers, cutting transit service and closing firehouses.

      Jerry, when compared to teachers, subways, and firemen, there aren’t a whole lot of city programs, agencies, or budget items that make a lot of sense. Let’s cancel the Thanksgiving Parade, since the city has to pay a lot of money not covered by Macy’s! The NYC Marathon? What a waste! Central Park? Another huge waste of money, especially if they are firing teachers! Who will think of the children?

      1. J. Danzig says:

        Stu, you make a good point, but as I said, at least the city could move this Summer Street program to other neighborhoods from year to year so the inconvenience doesn’t always fall on those living around Park Avenue. Also the other events and attractions you mention, notably the Macy’s Parade, the NYC Marathon, and Central Park might pay for themselves because of the tourists they attract. I doubt that Summer Events attracts anybody but bikers in the five boroughs.

  6. mike says:

    yeesh, these Summer Streets haters sound like they didn’t get enough fiber this morning. Have some fun once in a while folks, and maybe you’ll get a wider and better perspective.

    1. J. Danzig says:

      Mike, I get plenty of fiber. I even went to the gym this morning. Have you had a Summer Streets event on your block? Then you’ll be able to appreciate the perspective of area residents who have to live with the nuisance. In fact, I’ll be delighted to come have fun — at your expense — in your neighborhood!

      1. mike says:

        I don’t have one in my neighborhood, but I would love it if we did! No skin off my back. The big nuisance here (more like a mortal danger) is speeding and reckless drivers, so an open street event like Summer Streets would be a breath of fresh air.

      2. Sue says:

        This resident of 3rd Avenue and 70th Street LOVES summer streets! No inconvenience at all. I live with the daily nuisance of dangerous cars that block intersections or speed and run red lights. This was a refreshing change and I’d like to see it expanded to more weekends!

  7. J. Danzig says:

    Sally, there are two far greater majorities in NYC than motorists and bikers — pedestrians and residents. Both are inconvenienced by the Summer Streets program. Do you live on one of the streets surrounding the Summer Streets? Then you would know how dangerous this event is to area pedestrians, not to mention those living — and breathing exhaust fumes — on the surrounding avenues.

    1. Gal says:

      Wait. Bikers aren’t residents? They are all tourists?

      1. J. Danzig says:

        Gal, yes, bikers are residents but there are more pedestrians, and we’re the ones who are suffering from this unwelcome invasion of bikers in our neighborhood, which also causes horrendous traffic jams on adjacent avenues like Lexington.

  8. steve says:

    This event was amazing. It’s nice to see the city paying attention to the majority of people who live and work here who don’t own or use a car to get around. Most of us walk, take transit, and bike, and I’d like to see more space devoted to people and fewer to speeding, reckless cars!

    1. J. Danzig says:

      Steve, the reckless speeders on Park Avenue South yesterday were the bicyclists ignoring red lights as usual. And bikers already have splendid bike paths lining the East and Hudson Rivers, not to mention the circuit in Central Park.

      1. Sally says:

        Drivers already have splendid avenues lining the entire island of Manhattan and every area in between. On the east side alone there is 5th, Madison, Lexington, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, York, and even the FDR drive. It’s amazing how much real estate is given over to the driving minority!

        Include Central Park, which is open to cars during rush hour, and drivers really have a lot of splendid paths!

      2. Chris says:

        What “splendid bike path” lining the East River are you talking about? The one that forces cyclists into traffic on 1st and 2nd Avenue in its 20-block gap around the UN?

  9. macnyc says:

    Well, these two residents love it – volunteer to help – and then take part as much as possible. All the participants we spoke to sure seemed to enjoy themselves – and got outside and got some fresh air at the same time. Can 18 hours in a year really make that much of a difference? Why don’t you give it a try?

    1. J. Danzig says:

      Mac, this is the third or fourth year that the residents of our area have been inconvenienced by this dopey event. No parking on side streets, unnecessary noise and commotion, and wheeled hazards to pedestrians on every corner. And any fresh air that is accrued on Park Avenue South is outweighed by the exhaust fumes of the motorists stuck in endless traffic jams on surrounding avenues. Like the swimming pool dumpsters, this is a program that sounds better than it works in reality.

      1. Jerry Danzig is a noted bike hater. Anything to that conveniences cars, he’s for. Anything that makes it possible, even for a few hours three days a year, for people to enjoy the street on foot or on bike, he’s against.

        Jerry, cars have killed 91 people so far this year, most of then pedestrians. Over 250 people were killed last year by cars. There has been just pedestrian killed by a bike since 2009. A tragedy, of course, but hardly the menace you make cycling out to be. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but please figure out a way to balance your fear with the reality. Cars kill. Cycling continues to grow in NYC and is actually getting safer – for cyclists and pedestrians alike!

      2. Chris says:

        If you have such a problem with one street closure for 18 hours a year – mostly in the morning before most people are even up and about – move somewhere else.

  10. brook says:

    go to Central Park .. stay off the streets .. idiots

    1. Joe says:

      go to the BQE…stay out of the city…idiots

  11. J. Danzig says:

    Bicyclists get to run riot at the expense of motorists, pedestrians, and area residents. I was almost run over twice yesterday during the event, once by a pack of bikers who ran red lights and the second time by a limo making a right turn on Lexington under the watchful eyes (NOT) of New York’s finest. I couldn’t believe how much more peaceful the neighborhood became after this circus had closed down in early afternoon. IMO this Summer Streets program is a dreadful waste of taxpayer money and a major inconvenience to area residents.

  12. true NYC says:

    Shut the city down. Who needs food and water. Shut it down close every street in N.Y.C.Block fire trucks and police from responding to emergency. We have bikes lanes and little pretty flower pots in the middle of the streets. In king Blommy we trust. Wait the king is no where to be found. Maybe the king is on his one of 7 black SUV’S or maybe on his g5 37,000 feet in the air. Smoking a big old cigar from Cuba. With 10 big guys with guns. All the things the little people are not allowed to have the kings has.

    1. AW says:

      Nick you have a bid problem….and to solve it …..MOVE OUT OF NYC !

  13. MIddle-class Manh says:

    Hows that inferiority complex coming along Nick?

    1. Nick 9075 says:

      Exactly — one of the reasons I moved out of NYC is because of this holier than thou attitude of these metrosexual yuppies everywhere & the nanny state… I just collect rent now from these types from a co-op apartment I own that I bought in the mid 1990’s. After visiting I cannot wait to leave.

  14. Nick 1975 says:

    How nice but don’t forget you need to use a $3000 road bike in Manhattan since this ‘program’ is aimed only at under 30 year old Yuppies from Manhattan and the Manhattanesque part of Brooklyn. My $999 Trek isn’t cool enough so I don’t ride it. I have a second car (a Prius) to drive around Manhattan during the weekends….

    1. Dale Auburn says:

      What law states that only ultra-high-end bikes are allowed on Summer Streets routes? Have you actually been arrested or cited for riding a disallowed bike?

      1. Michael H. says:

        He’s being a troll. Ignore him.

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