What is Summer Streets?

You’re riding your bike in the crowded New York City streets to get food because you are starving and haven’t eaten anything all day. You come up to a stop light for what feels like forever and get annoyed, wishing you could just ride through the light without getting hit by a car. Well…you can!


Summer Streets is an annual celebration that takes place on three consecutive Saturdays from 7am to 1pm in Manhattan. You can freely ride your bike, walk on the side, or run along Park Avenue between City Hall Park and East 72nd Street and Central Park with no cars in your way.


Summer Streets gives New Yorkers the opportunity to experience the city in a whole new way. It’s a way to encourage people to take a more enjoyable and sustainable form of transportation. According to the Summer Streets website, “In 2017, nearly 300,000 people took advantage of the open streets.”


Five rest stops along Park Avenue offer activities such as yoga, dancing, food stops, a 30 foot zip-line and more! The best part is that it is entirely free. Summer streets is for all ages, not to mention it’s a way to start your Saturday morning. This year Summer Streets takes place on August 4, 11 and 18. Some riders even go to Summer Streets every year so they don’t miss out on anything.


Despite the fact that it was pouring rain, I went to Summer Streets on August 4 with my dad and rode my bike, stopping along the avenue to ask workers there some questions.


A volunteer at Summer Streets standing beside a table filled with New Yorkers making origami and learning how to ride bikes has been working at Summer Streets for the last five years. “People love Summer Streets in the rain. We had two young boys learn to ride bikes in the rain and they were ecstatic. I think this separates the rain lovers from the rest of us,” she said.


She continued to explain that, despite waking up at 4:30, she loves that she can share her joy of bicycling with everyone. “I would recommend Summer Streets to everyone, There is something for everyone here,” she said.


On the other side of the street, riders could get a customized helmet and take pictures in a tent. One of the volunteers working in that area had just started volunteering for Summer Streets that day. He goes to Stuyvesant High School. “Of course I would recommend Summer Streets to anyone, it’s super fun and brings people together. You can ride your bike in the wide open street with no cars. I went with my family to Summer Streets every year and this year I decided to volunteer,” he said.


According to the Summer Streets website, “Summer Streets is modeled on other events from around the world including Ciclovia en Bogotá, Colombia and the Paris Plage in France and has since inspired other such events around the world such as Ciclo Recreo Via and London’s Regent Street Summer Streets.”


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