It’s difficult to envision New York Cities’ bustling streets without the herds of yellow taxicabs and mammoth express busses whizzing past in a race to catch the next green light. However, this August, for the 6th consecutive summer in a row, Summer Streets will return to the city. For the first three Saturdays, 7-miles of Manhattan streets, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, will be closed to motor-vehicles.
This year’s event, brought to you by the NYC DOT, comes to New York with a few special highlights, including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s interactive art installation titled “Voice Tunnel.” The Mexican-Canadian artist lined the Park Avenue tunnel, stretching from 33rd Street to 40th Street, with 360 spotlights and 180 audio speakers. The brightness of the spotlights is directly reflective of the voice level of the those who speak into the intercoms: Softer speaking voices will result in dimmer lighting while louder voice recordings will cause bright illuminations. This interactive “Voice Tunnel” installation will mark the first time in history that pedestrians will be permitted to walk through the tunnel.
“For decades the Park Avenue Tunnel has been known only to motorists, but for three Saturdays this August, it will become a gallery offering a fresh look at a part of the city hidden from view,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan in a statement.
New Yorkers will not only get the chance to explore the tunnel in an original way, but with the “Art Within One Mile” public art-based walking tour, and the “Architectural Walking Tour” organized by the AIA and Culture Now, they will also get to see the permanent and temporary public art installations and notable architectural monuments that dot the Summer Street Routes.
Summer Streets will also return to Manhattan with other beloved attractions, including the 165-foot-long and 25-foot-high zip line in Foley Square reststop, the 25-foot-tall rock climbing wall, “Adventure Zone” at the SoHo rest stop, and the Whole Foods–sponsored “City Picnic” at Midtown reststop. Other attractions will include free yoga classes, performances by musicians, family programming, and free bike helmets for adults and children provided by the DOT. Additionally, Weekend Walks events will take place in 24 neighborhoods throughout the city.
Summer Streets provides New Yorkers with countless summertime activities and offers locals and visitors a chance to escape from the sweltering city heat, literally—at the Uptown rest stop Chat Travieso will create a”CoolStop,” connecting a water mister to fire hydrants and providing passersby with an opportunity to cool off.