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Everything you need to know about Summer Streets 2016

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Throw on your swimsuit and make sure to wear extra sunblock—Summer Streets returns to Manhattan this Saturday!

For the next three Saturdays, nearly seven miles of Manhattan’s streets (a.k.a. all of Park Avenue) will be rid of all cars and traffic so that thousands of revelers and thrill-seekers (who enjoy things to do outside) can be active. This year’s programming is going to bigger and better, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) has planned tons of free activities at five rest stops, which include a water slide, fitness classes, a dog park, arts and crafts workshops, plus walking and bike tours.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Summer Streets NYC 2016

It’s certainly one of the best NYC events in August, which is why we want to make sure you know exactly what to expect and how to participate (FYI: You need to sign up in order to slide).  So here is everything you need to know, from where the rest stops are located to what you can do there. Just consider this your Summer Streets study guide.

Where are the five Rest Stops located?

Uptown, Midtown, Astor Place, Soho and Foley Square.

What can I do at the Uptown Rest Stop?

Not only does this Rest Stop offer the most activities, but this is where you’ll find the 30-foot high zipline at it’s new location: 53rd Street between Park and Lexington Aves. The zipline is first come, first served, but it’s required that you register for a timeslot and arrive before 8am. (You must check-in within the first 15minutes of your timeslot). Luckily, the Bryant Park Jugglers will be around for entertainment while you wait.

An exciting new feature for all the foodies is that there will be complimentary treats up for grabs here. Gorge on goodies from ChocNYC, Big Bottom Biscuit Bar and cool down with Citi Blue Sno-cones on August 13.

There’s also a new exhibit called Hallmark Channel’s Sounds of the Shore (located at 52nd St and Park Avenue). Here, you’ll be transported to a tranquil “beach.” Sit in Adirondack chairs, listen to coastal music and if you post a Tweet about the activation, you’ll receive a free popsicle.

You’ll also find DOT’s Safety Zone, where you can explore a parked truck and experience a driver’s perspective on the roadway. There’s also the DOT Arts & Culture Hub, where you can visit with some of the city’s most popular culture institutions, learn about their offerings and do some arts and crafts (duh!). Click here to see the full schedule of participants and crafts.

Another cool activity is Bicycle Utopia’s Bike Art Party located on Park Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets. This is essentially an interactive portrait for your photo-taking pleasure. You can hop on a bike and choose from a series of cityscapes from the past, present and future and pretend you’re pedaling away to a different realm.

There’s also a stage located at 51st Street and Park Avenue where musicians, thespians and dancers will perform at various times. Click here to see the full schedule of performers.

The Uptown Rest Stop is also where you’ll find free bike rentals courtesy Bike & Roll, as well as a Central Park Sightseeing bike tour.

What can I do at the Midtown Rest Stop?

When you’re feeling peckish, head to the Midtown Rest Stop for the Taste of Summer Sampling Zone and munch on some yummy treats. Vendors include Cabot, Nuun, Gardein, Honest Tea, Clif and more.

There’s also more free bike and roller blading rentals in this area, as well as dance and theatre performances, too. Click here to see the full schedule of performers.

What can I do at the Astor Place Rest Stop?

This stop is for the dog lovers. At Astor Place, you’ll find the Paws and Play Dog Park, where your pooch can roll around on the grass, splash in small pools and show off their skills during an agility course. 

Folks can also play on Los Trompos (Spinning Tops) designed by Hector Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena (located at 24th Street between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue).

What can I do at the Soho Rest Stop?

Here is where fitness addicts can sample all sorts of free classes courtesy of Crunch Gym. There will also be Parkour demonstrations, because apparently that’s still a thing! There will also be some craft opportunities (i.e. make your own dragon boat crown with the Museum of Chinese in America) and more. Click here to see the full schedule.

What can I do at Foley Square?

Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for: The Vita Coco Beachside Slide. Located at the Foley Square stop (111 Worth Street), you can keep cool and slide through the streets of Manhattan (literally) on an inner-tube provided by Vita Coco. Afterward, relax on the "beach" and swing inside a hammock, refresh with some coconut water at the beach bar, and play in the sand while listening to live DJ music. 

But before you can do any of that, you must register for the slide in advance. Here's the registration link for the upcoming event on Saturday, August 6th. Make sure to keep tabs on Summer Streets via Twitter so you know when to sign up for the next event on August 13 and August 20. (Registration for August 13 opens August 9. Registration for August 20 opens on August 15).

What about the walking tours?  

If you’re not a fan of bicycles and prefer to tour the city with your feet on the ground, there are three awesome walking tours that will help you explore parts of Manhattan you’ve never seen before.

Sat 6: Jean Arrington, “City Beautiful and Benevolent: Gramercy Park to Stuyvesant Square”
Meet at the Midtown Rest Stop (corner of 24th Street and Park Avenue).
Reserve your spot here.

Sat 13: Alan M Engler, “Mansions, Money and Scandal: Gilded Age Splendor on the Upper East Side”
Meet at the Uptown Rest Stop (NW corner of 68th St and Park Avenue).
Reserve your spot here.  

Sat 20: Deborah Zelcer, “Decked Out on Park Avenue: Period Lobbies and New York Glamour”
Meet at the Uptown Rest Stop (corner of 51st Street and Park Avenue).
Reserve your spot here.

Or, you can be your own tour guide and follow a map during the brand-new TV and Movie Sites Walking Tour. 


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