For three Saturdays in August, Park Avenue—undoubtedly one of Manhattan’s busiest thoroughfares—is transformed. Gone are the honking cabs, squealing sirens and incessant traffic jams, replaced by the whiz of rollerblades, the occasional ding of a bike bell, and the clatter of training wheels.
Summer Streets, put on by the New York City Department of Transportation, closes nearly seven miles of Manhattan streets to all traffic except for bikes and pedestrians.
It might be fleeting, but for a few hours, you get a glimpse of how serene Manhattan would be if more people rode bikes. Even the smallest of children can successfully navigate the avenues and after 10 miles of riding, I saw not one accident—just a lot of smiles and sweaty people (and a few weird unicyclists).
Summer Streets also gives you a chance to ride (or walk) through some parts of the city that are rarely seen from outside of a cab. Racing down the ramp of the Grand Central viaduct and out onto Park Avenue is exhilarating, especially when you can look up and take in the skyscrapers as you ride.
The final Summer Streets for 2012 is this Saturday, August 18, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Will we see you out there?