Summer Streets 2014 in NYC


Since 2008, New York City’s held “Summer Streets” — an event that closes off almost seven miles spanning from Central Park down to the Brooklyn Bridge on three consecutive Saturdays in August from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year, over 300,000 people showed up over three Saturdays to get their bike/rollerblading/walking/running funk on.

As a New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn and now living in Queens, I’ve never attended Summer Streets. So-called “real” New Yorkers will probably agree with me on this: Saturday is for sleeping in.

After years of nagging from DG’s Managing Editor Bruce, I finally dragged my butt out of bed and hit up Summer Streets on its second day of festivities (8/9).

Cars are barred from 72nd Street and Park Avenue down to Lafayette Street at the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead, Summer Streets is a bi-directional lane of pedestrians and bikers absorbing the city from uptown to downtown and vice versa.

Still not sold on Summer Streets? Here’s how the city describes the summer event:

“The event is part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party—a great time for exercise, people watching, or just enjoying summer mornings. Passersby are weclome to participate in arts and crafts workshops, listen to musical performances, learn to salsa dance, eat healthy snacks, climb a 25′ climbing wall, soar through the sky on a 160′ zipline and explore a 179 years voice tunnel.”

Yes, there is friggin’ ziplining somewhere in this event. I never made it all the way downtown to do it (and the lines were probably long as hell), but I will make a better effort next year.

There are also several rest stops and sponsors along the path where you can pit stop and grab some free snacks and drinks. Maybe wait in line for a free hot dog or two.

I can’t say it’s the grandest or most thrilling NYC event, but I will admit it’s a rare opportunity to really take in the city without all of the honking cars and taxis (at least on one avenue). And you also get to see some interesting views you’d never see otherwise, like these:

Grand Central Terminal

Eagle perched atop at Grand Central Terminal

Park Avenue Tunnel with sound installation by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen

If you missed Summer Streets, you’ll have to wait until next year. And plan it well. We ended walking down from 59 Street and Lexington Avenue down to St. Marks, dashing over to 10 Degrees for a couple of drinks, then to Crif Dogs next door for some scrumptious (and weird) hot dogs, Good Beer for more drinks and then Chinatown’s Shanghai Cafe for soup dumplings. All in a Saturday’s time instead of sleeping in.

10 Degree’s bar with buy 1, get 1 cocktails and drinks from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

I forget the name of this. I think it was the Tom Collins (Gin, Fresh lemon juice, sugar, club soda, Maraschino Cherry).

A strawberry lemonade with some kind of alcohol

What’s better than Crif Dogs’ hot dogs and some old-school gaming? Here we got a Tsunami dog (house dog, bacon wrapped, with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions) and ??? (bacon wrapped, and potato chips…)

Don’t forget to indulge in some classic Spy Hunter. But heed the warning sign. It will eat your quarters sometimes.

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