It looks like one of NYC's biggest summer parties just got bigger: Summer Streets, the car-free pedestrian festival, opened with a bang this Saturday, with thousands of New Yorkers claiming seven Manhattan miles as their playground for biking, sports, art, tours and more. Just in time for the second of three weekends of Summer Streets, the Department of Transportation is loosely expanding the radius of the party to 60 blocks between Battery Park and City Hall as part of its Shared Streets program, going into effect on Saturday between 11am–4pm.
Of course, not all the streets will be strictly closed to cars, but DOT officials and NYPD officers will be loosely enforcing a 5 mph speed limit, which should deter quite a bit of traffic. The designated Summer Streets (Lafayette and Park Ave from Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd St) will continue to remain strictly car-free over the weekend.
So what to do with seven miles of abandoned streets? Play, of course. Try your hand at giant-sized connect four, modern croquet game Knock-a-Block and more at the Garden Games at Hanover Square; live the Parisian life of an outdoor street artist at Bowling Green's Uni DRAW workshop; and explore Lower Manhattan with film & television tours, Women's history walks and several bike caravans. And need we mention the giant waterslide on Foley Square?
If you're planning on biking over, take advantage of the free bike valet at Park Row, and be sure to download the full map from the Shared Streets site. Summer Streets takes place on Saturdays 13 and 20, 7am–1pm.