Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer Streets 2011

All Summer, the New York City Department of Transportation has been giving away free helmets, bicycle lessons, and safety tips in support of biking your way through NYC.

This month, NYC DOT produced Summer Streets, an event where Park Avenue was closed down and made available only to pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, and others on all types of wheels whether they be scooters or skateboards. No cars!

2011 was Summer Streets' fourth year of existence. The event happened over a course of three weekends. I was lucky and motivated enough to attend two Saturdays of Summer Streets.

My primary focus of Summer Streets was biking. It can be a struggle at times to bike through the city. There are pockets of NYC, such as Chinatown, where the cars are so dominant that cyclists can be pushed aside, sideswiped, and hit in a matter of seconds. Of course, this can really happen anywhere but biking through some areas of the city are more dangerous than others. To be able to fly up and down Park Avenue all the way from downtown up to Central Park with ease is really a luxury. At times, it even felt exhilarating. We were even allowed to race through the MetLife building, a path normally meant for cars only.

Summer Streets Access to MetLife
There were many activities at Summer Streets. Those who were not into biking or just needed a workout could join one of the many aerobic classes available. At 23rd Street, there was a picnic rest area where many sponsors gave away treats and samples. Cheese, smoothies, yogurt, milk, tea, gelato, sorbet, trail mix bars, you name it, they gave it. I enjoyed the giveaways but really just wanted to bike. The rest area even had a bike valet just in case you did not have a lock.

Women's Health and Crunch Workout
City Picnic Rest Area
Ciao Bella Gluten Free Lemon Zest Sorbet
We did two different paths at each Summer Street. The first week we ventured off of Park Avenue and into Central Park where we did the short loop. The second week we skipped the park and proceeded downtown to Chinatown where we took a break for lunch. We bought food from different restaurants and ate on benches at Columbus Park. There were many interesting sights along the way. The one I was looking for the whole time was the human hamster wheel. The other one that really caught my attention was the sand castle by Travel Channel's Sand Masters.

Merrill's Human Wheel
Sand Masters' Plan
Matt Long and Andy Gertler hard at work
The Brooklyn Bridge crumbled seconds later.
Summer Streets lasted from 7AM to 1PM for three Saturdays in the month of August. I am definitely looking forward to riding it again next year. The streets were calm and the city was all ours.

Astor Place
Photography Credits: Wing Leung, Roxwriting

Summer Streets

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