As promised

, last year's first Summer Streets series, which created a 6.9 mile car-free stretch of Manhattan pavement on three Saturdays in August, will return, despite heated objections from some merchants who said the closings hurt their businesses. Today Russell Simmons and Luis Guzmán joined Mayor Bloomberg, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and other officials to formally announce this year's events, which will take place in Manhattan on Saturday August 8th, 15th and 22nd from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Manhattan route will run from the Brooklyn Bridge via Lafayette/Centre Streets, 4th Avenue and Park Avenue up to 72nd street, while major cross-town streets will remain open to vehicles crossing the route. In addition, the Summer Streets program is being expanded to all five boroughs, with smaller stretches in a total of 13 neighborhoods. One such micro-version of Summer Streets, Williamsburg Walks, is already underway and will continue next Saturday and July 11th, unless the teenagers ruin everything with their skateboards! A full list of all the neighborhood Summer Streets events can be perused here, along with all the other free activities presented by the city.