NYC to get seven miles of car-free streets this summer

'Summer streets' will bring seven miles of car-free streets and fun events to Manhattan this August, completely transforming the noise-filled, car-choked city.

Travel News - Summer Streets
Lafayette Street during the Summer Streets event . Image by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

Summer Streets returns to New York City for the twelfth year as citizens reclaim the seven miles of Manhattan's streets for three Saturdays in August (3, 10 and 17) for walking, biking, street performances and food-truck dining. Inspired by a 1970s mass recreational event in Bogotá, Colombia known as Ciclovia (a weekly car-free spectacle that continues today), the Manhattan experiment began in 2008 and has continued to grow in scope every year with a record 300,000 attendees in 2018.

The pedestrianised event will close nearly seven miles of streets along Park Avenue from 7am until 1pm, starting between East 51st St and Foley Square in Lower Manhattan and moving up towards Central Park. There'll be five stops located at Foley Square, Spring Street, Astor Place, 25th Street and 51st Street with events and activities for all ages to be enjoyed along the way.

Travel News - Summer Streets
People rock climb along a car-free Manhattan street. Image by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

On the first Saturday - 3 August - there will be an attempt to break the world record for the most people executing a handstand simultaneously. The current record is 399 people, and the first 400 people to check-in at Foley Square from 7am will get a commemorative gift. You can sign up here.

If a rush of blood to the head isn't your thing, you can still have fun along the route with rock-climbing walls, a 165-foot zip line, outdoor fitness classes, wheelchair basketball games, a dog park and plenty of family-friendly activities. You can also fill your belly with free samples from food and drink vendors.

Travel News - Summer Streets
A woman rides a zip line in front of Manhattan's skyline during the Summer Streets event. Image by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

All modes of transportation are invited — bicycles, roller skates, scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards — as long as they are not motor-driven. The event is free-of-charge and you can stay up-to-date with all the programmes and events, as well as road closures and traffic diversions, through the Department of Transportation's website.