For the fourth year in a row, nearly seven miles of Manhattan streets will be cleared of cars on three consecutive Saturdays in August for the DOT's popular "Summer Streets" series. The route doesn't differ radically from previous years (cars will be banished from the intersection of Chambers Street and Centre Street, up Lafayette, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue to East 72nd Street), but this year has some new fun activities:

  • Sand castles and sculptures by Matt Long of Sand Masters television fame, as well as sand boxes for everyone to enjoy.
  • A 25-feet tall climbing wall provided by REI.
  • Sports activities ranging from basketball to baseball to hockey.
  • Storytelling activities hosted by StoryCorps.
  • Free exercise and dance classes.
  • Free bicycle and rollerblade rentals.
  • Chipotle will host "guacamole making."
  • The first ever Summer Streets Cook-off (whatever that means) hosted by Whole Foods on August 6th.
  • The Fringe Festival will present free street theater performances.
  • Transportation Alternatives will offer free Bike Valet parking.

Sadly, it doesn't look like there will be any swimming pools this year, but we can confirm that Summer Streets will take over on August 6th, 13th and 20th from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cross-town streets will remain open to vehicles, and No Parking regulations will be in effect from 10 p.m. beginning the Friday evening before each event until 2 p.m. the day of the event. Street closures will begin at 6 a.m., with streets reopening at 1:30 pm the day of each event. More details here.

And the DOT is once again partnering with community groups in every borough to present
"Weekend Walks," which are like mini Summer Streets, and close anywhere from one to eight blocks in neighborhoods outside Manhattan. Hosted by local community groups and merchants, each Weekend Walk features activities ranging from music performances to arts and crafts, classes and youth programming. Altogether, there are 18 Weekend Walks locations planned this year, each providing "unique, car-free street experiences." You may have already seen one in action on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, when the main drag stayed open past 10 p.m.—we were there after the Guided By Voices show, and it was heavenly.

Danny L's Flickr