A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 17, 2008
“Summer Streets” (car-free streets during summer)

In June 2008, an experimental Department of Transportation program called “Summer Streets” was announced. For three straight Saturdays in August 2008, a 6.9-mile stretch of Manhattan would be blocked off to vehicle traffic. The “summer streets” would allow New Yorkers to walk, ride bicycles, rollerblade, etc.

PR- 229-08
June 16, 2008
For Three Saturdays in August, Route from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park Will Open

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced Summer Streets, a new City program that will temporarily open a 6.9 mile car-free route from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street. Featuring connections to Central Park and other open spaces, Summer Streets will give New Yorkers unprecedented access to the streets for exercise and exploration from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays in August, the 9th, 16th and 23rd. Major cross-town streets will remain open for vehicles that need to cross the route. The Mayor and Commissioner Sadik-Khan were joined at the announcement by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Lance Armstrong and David Byrne.

“We anticipate that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors will take advantage of streets temporarily opened for recreation,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We hope the Summer Streets experiment will become as much a part of the New York experience as strolling the Coney Island boardwalk, participating in the 5-borough bike tour, or listening to the Philharmonic in the park.”

“In Bogotá, they call it Ciclovia, or bikeway. In Paris, it’s the Plage, or beach. Here in New York, Summer Streets will literally turn the streets of our city into a pedestrian park,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “The streets themselves are among the most valuable public space that the City has to offer, and finding the room within our existing street space for those on two feet or two wheels is a true application of our goals for a sustainable future under the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiatives and the DOT’s strategic plan.”

As part of Summer Streets, DOT worked with the Police Department, NYC & Co., the Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit on a plan to redirect vehicle traffic around the route that runs from Lower Manhattan to 72nd Street and Central Park via Centre Street, Lafayette Street, 4th Avenue and Park Avenue. Local streets will remain accessible to residents with vehicles and for deliveries.

Fitness, dance and yoga classes will be held at a central stage along the route, with additional exercise and health activities hosted by community groups at select cross streets. Event sponsors will also organize activities, and bike rental facilities will be available along the route, including at hotels. Rest areas will be stationed along the route for water and bike repair, and serve as meeting areas to link up with friends and family members. At the 72nd Street link to Central Park, the car-free route will occupy the southern half of the road only, while the north side will remain open to two-way vehicle traffic. People on bicycles can access the park and the Hudson River Greenway from the West Side via bike lanes on West 90th and 91st Streets. In Lower Manhattan, bike lanes will connect to the route from the Greenway via Warren, Reade, Hudson, and Chambers Streets.

The Police Department will direct traffic around the route and all parking will be restricted starting at midnight on the day of the event. Additional staff and volunteers will be on hand to facilitate the event.

Transforming traffic lanes into car-free recreation corridors has already been successful in Bogotá, Paris, Tokyo and London. Several cities in the U.S. have similar programs, such as El Paso, Tex., Cambridge, Mass. and soon also Portland, Ore. and Chicago, Ill. For New York, Summer Streets creates an opportunity for residents to experience the city in a healthy, sustainable way while attracting “green tourism” to the city center.

The major cross-town routes that will remain open to traffic are:

Chambers Street
Worth Street
Canal Street
Broome Street
East Houston Street
W.8th Street
14th Street
23rd Street
36th/37th Streets
49th/50th Streets
53rd/54th Streets
57th Street
59th Street

New York (NY) Daily News
Car-free zone for biking and walking runs through city 3 days in August
Monday, June 16th 2008, 11:18 PM
The city will turn a 5-mile stretch of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park into a $1 million car-free haven for bikers, hikers and joggers on three consecutive Saturdays this summer.

“Summer Streets will give us an opportunity to be tourists in our own city and see it anew,” Mayor Bloomberg said Monday. “There might be some minor disruptions here and there, but I think those will be far outweighed by the huge benefits that Summer Streets will bring to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”

The route along Lafayette St., Fourth Ave. and Park Ave. to 72nd St., then west to the park, will be closed from 7 a.m. to 1p.m. Aug. 9, 16 and 23.

New York (NY) Times
June 16, 2008, 4:58 pm
City to Experiment With Car-Free Streets
By Fernanda Santos
Emulating similar experiments in Paris, London, and Bogotá, Colombia, New York City will close off to traffic a 6.9-mile route from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 72nd Street on three consecutive Saturdays, giving New Yorkers to a chance to explore and enjoy “car-free recreation corridors” — well, for six hours a stretch, at least.

In making the announcement, the mayor summoned some star power: the cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and the musician David Byrne of the Talking Heads, who said he commutes by bicycle daily to his work in SoHo from his home in Midtown.

The route will run from Lower Manhattan to East 72nd Street via Centre Street, Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue. Major crosstown routes — including Chambers, Canal, East Houston, 14th, 23rd and 59th Streets — will remain open to traffic. Buses that ride along the 6.9-mile route will be rerouted during the street closings — which have been scheduled for Aug. 9, 16, and 23, from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Standing on a wide stretch of sidewalk outside the uptown entrance to the No. 6 train station on Astor Place, the mayor said of the program: “There might be some minor disruptions here and there, but I think that those will be far outweighed by the huge benefits that Summer Streets will bring to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”

New York (NY) Times
On 3 Days in August, City Will Try No-Car Zone
Published: June 17, 2008
It has been a long-held dream of New Yorkers of a certain (greenish) stripe: the streets of Manhattan free of cars. Now, for a few hours, on a few streets, on a few weekends this summer, that dream will become reality.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Monday that he will create a car-free zone on three Saturdays in August, along a 6.9-mile stretch of streets through Manhattan, from the Brooklyn Bridge, north to Park Avenue and the Upper East Side. Cars, trucks and buses will be banned on the streets along the route from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 9, 16 and 23. The mayor was careful to describe the initiative, called Summer Streets, as an experiment. 

Gay Socialites
June 17, 2008
Get ready for summer streets in New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying something new this summer in New York City by blocking off nearly 7 miles of Manhattan’s busy streets.

The program is called Summer Street and is a way to get New Yorkers out and about on Saturdays.

The route, stretching from the Brooklyn Bridge in lower Manhattan to East 72nd Street along Centre and Lafayette streets and Fourth and Park avenues, will be off-limits to traffic from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 9, 16 and 23. Several crosstown streets along the route will remain open.

The closed streets will feature bike rental kiosks, rest stops with water and bike repair facilities, along with fitness, dance and yoga classes.

I think it’s a great idea. I wanna see some drag queens and line dancers too!
Posted by Charles Winters on June 17, 2008 12:52 AM

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • (0) Comments • Tuesday, June 17, 2008 • Permalink