14+ Million Plays of Livable Streets Vids!
Browse Terms of Use

Summer Streets 2008 (NYC)

Feeling remarkably similar to Bogota's Ciclovia, the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. Our Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the real deal - she spent the entire day riding a bike around the course (and even said some nice things about me to my mom.)

We'll spare you the 200 adjectives we could list about how transformational it was, for it was beyond anything on the printed page. The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. A page has been turned, clearly there is no doubt: the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, dog walkers, dancers, and any other reasonable livable space use.

The swarms of people and happy faces made for much positive energy. Around noon, some blocks were getting very crowded, but there was a general courtesy that existed between pedestrians and cyclists. The city built it - and the people came. And they smiled a lot.

[intro music]

Speaker: [00:06] We’re sitting here in the sun enjoying the day, and it’s just great.


Speaker: [00:16] This is utopia New York.


Speaker: [00:20] Everyday should be Summer Streets day, yay.


Speaker: [00:24] There we go.


Janette Sadik-Khan: [00:27] All these people are going to enjoy car-free streets from 7am till 1pm, seven miles, all the way up some of the most iconic streets of New York, Park Avenue. We encourage everybody to get out and play and take a dance class, an aerobicise or cha-cha, do anything you want. And it’s not just about being in motion, it’s also about if you want to go out and have a cup of coffee and enjoy those streets and people watch. I mean there are wonderful ways to get out and enjoy the streets of New York and so this is going to be a great Saturday. It’s great for fitness, it’s great for fun, it’s just… it’s just a great way to see the city.


Speaker: [01:02] So now what do you guys have to do today?

Speaker: [01:05] We have to guard the street.

Speaker: [01:06] And protect. Serve and protect. We’re Marshals. We are Marshals.

Speaker: [01:11] Are you a little scared having the bare feet today?

Speaker: [01:13] Yeah, I was a little scared first mile, but since it’s been okay.

Speaker: [01:15] Yeah?

Speaker: [01:16] Yeah.

Speaker: [01:17] It’s a whole different perspective. I mean, you know, you zip by in a cab usually or you get to see things you would never otherwise see, you know, the statue of Cornelius Van Der Bilt, who knew?

Speaker: [01:27] The best part is watching people look up and enjoy buildings from the safety of the street instead of avoiding looking up because they’re trying to avoid collision with motorists.

Speaker: [01:36] For eight years we’ve been anxious to go, come out of the house and sit on the grass. You can sit here and have lunch. It’s a wonderful place to be. But it’s terrible during the day with the cars going along and the fumes and the noise and the horns and everything. But today, it’s incredible. I’m sitting here, you want to see the painting I did?


Gil Penalosa: [02:01] The general interest as we can see is that people want to take over the streets and people want to have fun and people want to meet out as equals and this develops a sense of belonging and this is really what makes New York the greatest city in the world.

Aaron Naparstek: [02:15] It actually reminds me a lot of Bogota, like all the dance classes in the middle of the street. I don’t know how everyone found out about it because the crowds are huge.


Speaker: [02:32] This is a unique experience. First time in New York City I’m experiencing this. I’m going all the way Downtown and coming back all the way Uptown.


Speaker: [02:44] Oh this is great fun, they should close the streets more often.

Speaker: [02:47] Summer Streets, we love them.


Noah Budnick: [03:01] It really shows that traffic is not like the weather, it’s not just something that is there and you can’t do anything about, and that when you get the cars out of the way, it really shows people what more can be done with the streets in the city and how they can be put to much higher uses.

Mark Gorton: [03:15] I’m sitting in the middle of Park Avenue and it is quiet and peaceful and wonderful. I got my kids right here and I’m not worried that they’re going to get run over by a car. I’m not paranoid that I have to keep an eye on them every second or their lives are in danger. You close the streets to traffic and the whole world opens up.

Mary Wittenberg: [03:34] We are so lucky to live in a city where Mayor Bloomberg and his team want to show the world that New York City is the sports capital of the world and a model city for healthy living. Who likes that?

All: [03:47] Me.

Speaker: [03:50] It was fantastic, I thought that it was great. I did see a lot of children really having fun.

Speaker: [03:54] It’s ridiculously fun, they should have done this a long time ago.

Speaker: [03:57] I love the fact that there was no noise in the street.

Speaker: [04:01] They should do it every Saturday and then add more days each year.

Gil Penalosa: [04:06] And I think we have to applaud the Mayor and the Commissioner for having had the guts. Sometimes it’s so much easier to do nothing, and then when you do nothing, no-one complains. But they are doing things and making our city more on the human scale and I think that’s what’s exciting.

Janette Sadik-Khan: [04:20]’We’ve got two more Saturdays to go after this and it’s my hope that this becomes an iconic event for New York City for the next hundred years.


Speaker: [04:35] Yeah a blast, a blast man. It’s a gas.

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

Embed Code

Embed This on Your Site

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/lindsijoyce Lindsi Seegmiller

    thank you- I got to relive Saturday a little bit this morning.

  • Ed Pino

    We had fun on our tandem. This is a goal that we should work on to get the streets closed every Saturday and Sunday. As usual Clarence a great job in capturing the day.

  • http://gothamschools.org Kelly

    Great film - love the quote from the marshals! - now when are they going to extend the hours for those of us who are still sound asleep at 7 am on a Saturday? 😉

  • http://sf.bikeblogs.org/ Peter

    Great work!

  • http://www.walkroll.com Lois Moss

    Absolutely and totally awesome. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who made it happen. Thank you to the visionary local leaders who saw the potential and who took a chance on a new idea. Thank you to Streetfilms for communicating the success. And a huge THANK YOU to Gil Penalosa for being the inspirational leader who is waking up North America.

    I'll be adding to the local economy by spending some tourist dollars in NYC on Aug 16. Crossing my fingers that Walk+Roll Cleveland on Aug 24 has sunshine, too.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/npGREENWAY Scott for npGREENWAY

    Excellent! So excited to see NYC joining the "movement" of opening up the streets to the people!

    We had nearly 20,000 people here yesterday in Portland participating in the Bridge Pedal, but one of the comments that a friend of mine made early in the morning really stuck with me. He said "As I was going online and paying and then going downtown to get my bib for the ride, I thought to myself, Sunday Parkways (Portland's version of Summer Streets) was so much easier. I didn't have to do any of this. I just rolled out of my driveway!"

    Here's to many more events like this around the country! Nice job NYC!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/npGREENWAY Scott for npGREENWAY

    oh... and did I say... "your Editor-in-Chief rides a Bakfiets?!" Very cool!
    ...and the Executive Director of the Open Planning Project has four kids?! This MUST be a good organization! 😉

  • http://www.walkandbikeforlife.org Gil Penalosa

    Congratulations on this great video! I came down from Toronto with my wife and a daughter and had the best time; well worth it. Others can go to NYC in the next two Saturdays and live the experience.

    As good as the video is...reality was even better; magnificent! Nevertheless your gorgeous images and sincere comments from participants allows people from all over the world to see what took place yesterday in NYC: these streets were open to the people and closed to the cars.

    Then change took over: people were active, no traffic congestion, no noise from cars, cleaner air, local business doing well. We saw men and women, children and older adults, rich and poor, fat and skinny, short and tall...ALL!

    Everyone enjoying the city and especially the presence of each other.
    Finally, NYC's DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn and Mayor Bloomberg showed the world that bold ideas can be done and that streets are alive and can do more than move cars.

    The best news is that any and all cities can copy and follow NYC’s example, regardless of size and location. Portland did Sunday Parkways on June 22, in October Chicago, April 2009 Baltimore...Clarence's videos will help others get moving. It’s not rocket science...just do it!

    Gil Penalosa, Walk & Bike for Life, Toronto, Canada

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Ethan Ethan Kent

    Best Streetfilm yet and best accomplishment yet for NYC!

    I never would have imagined this happening so fast when I first dreamed about it on Streetsblog early last summer: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/06/06/ciclovia-bogota/

    I am now in Melbourne where I am working with the city on how to build and diversify the uses and user groups of the abundantly reclaimed street spaces, among other issues that NYC has yet to address.

    We have a lot further and have to keep dreaming bigger, but the increasing pace of change is very exciting!

  • http://blog.ta.org.br João Lacerda


    Almost made me drop to tears. It's Utopia New York TODAY! When iconic cities like London, Paris and New York start to make small "mobility revolution" the world gets closer to being a better place.

    Congratulations on this great video!

  • frederick nunley

    Thanks for taking me there with your excellent film. I know how sweet the streets are with less or no motorized traffic. Park Avenue looked like a park for the first time in a very long time. I understand it was originally a real park with only horse draw vehicles but when cars needed space they widened the pavement and shrank the park. Imagine how nice it would be to take it back from the cars and trucks and buses. This film's subject gives us all something to aspire to without having been there. Washington DC's streets could use some more people friendly events.

  • http://www.rooseveltisland360.com Eric (Roosevelt Island 360)

    We came into Manhattan via the F Train at Lex / 63rd and walked over to Park Ave. For the first time ever I was not worried about my kids running onto Park Avenue.

    We did have to make sure the kids were aware of the many many bikes but after that they were fine. We had a little picnic on the median and watched all the bikes and runners go by. Very very cool.

    Wish it could be done evry Saturday from Spring into Fall!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    I love seeing the guy finally getting to sit on the Park Avenue lawn after years of daydreaming about it -- hooray for New York City!

  • http://www.gettingaroundportland.org Steve Hoyt-McBeth

    Hooray New York City! Watching this brings joy to my Monday morning. We here in Portland can't wait for another Sunday Parkways and we're excited about our neighbors up in Seattle kicking off their version this summer.

    Question: I couldn't tell from the video if the commercial areas were open. It looks like it would be a boon for food businesses. Any feedback on that?

    Thanks to Clarence and the Streetsblog posse for another great and inspirational video.

    We are starting a revolution!

  • betty

    I signed up to volunteer at a summer streets event not really know what summer street was. It was the best time! i can't wait to experience the next 2 Saturdays. You will find me running, learning to bike and just dancing in the streets! Between the traffic and bike rental costs, I've never been motivated to learn but can't pass up free open road! Thank you Mayor Bloomberg and the DOT for such and awesome day!

  • http://therunoffgroove.blogspot.com John Book

    Is that Kevin Powell at the 0:17 mark?

  • Izarra Varela

    Charming and inspiring. Thanks for doing great work, Clarence!

  • Willy Bio

    And nobody happened to realize the traffic nightmare it caused, resulting in idling vehicles essentially gassing the participants, and wasting tons of fuel? What a poorly thought out and utterly retarded stunt.

    How about this: somebody with more than a couple of brain cells really sits down and figured out if something like this is doable without causing huge amounts of pollution and fuel wasting? Ban cars from Manhattan all together for the time? Sure. Get the congestion fee plan back on track and charge a high premium for times when events like this are happening? Sure. Think stuff through before implementing them? Might be a good idea. :/

  • Lars

    The only problem I saw was that it didn't last long enough. It should go until at least 2 PM (or later)

    That would also be a good idea because if it went that late people will be thinking of lunch when the event ends and will visit restaurants along the course.

  • fourmorewars

    Loved the film (pointed to it by Atrios), would love to experience this if we visit in the near future. Only quibble, wish there couldv'e been ten or twenty seconds shot from a tenth or a twentieth floor. Would've been a nice panoramic thing -- the close-up interviews are nice, but you start to feel like 'hey this is a big huge panorama, why am I spending so much of it parked six inches in front of somebody's face?'

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/trorb Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    It was my dream to get an overhead shot during the day, but it didn't pan out during the day, the places we tried were not allowing access.

    In fact ALL the coverage I saw - photos and pics there was not one overhead shot. Says alot about how many office buildings were closed on a Saturday.

  • http://www.runmuki.com/commute/index.html Paul Dorn

    Great job StreetFilms, as always. We'll be excited to see how San Franciso's Sunday Streets succeeds. I expect it to succeed fabulously.

  • hmm

    Willy: It *should* be hard to drive in Manhattan. That's what gets people out of their (disproportionately polluting, dangerous and destructive) vehicles and onto better (and even better when more people are involved) sidewalks and bike lanes and mass transit. Don't blame bikers and pedestrians for pollution caused by private vehicles. It's a little like blaming vegetarians for wasting all the meatloaf on the buffet.

  • Dan

    Great video and it looked like a huge success. The video took me back to last September where I experienced the ciclovia firsthand in Bogota. One man carrying a tennis racquet in one hand while steering his bike with the other gave us a big smile and said in English, "welcome to Bogota". Everyone we met was happy and gave us smiles and kind words, just like the people in this video.

    Hopefully this idea spreads to other cities. Gil, thanks for implementing this idea originally and helping it spread.

  • Elaine S

    What a great film! I am off to NYC this weekend and plan to take my
    3 grandchildren into the City to enjoy walking and watching. Cleveland's turn is on the 24th, come visit us !

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/trorb Clarence Eckerson Jr.


    THank you so much for all the wonderful comments. Hope to see some of you out there tomorrow for the 2nd event.

  • http://aseachange.net Angela

    loving it! missed it! I'm not a morning gal on a Saturday: Mayor Bloomburg, please extend the hours! I'd love to ride the streets at 10 pm.

  • larry

    It looked fantastic. My wife and I were in NYC the week of August 10. We may try to plan next year to be there for the Summer Streets, event.

  • http://Learnitnow@hotmail.com S. Wilson

    Great video job, Clarence! Way to show off the city & the folks who still love it! - Sir Rock!

  • Bloody Knee Phil

    Did the last two Saturday mornings, from around 59th down to the bottom and back up. What an awesome time! Thank you thank you, and please please do this kind of thing more often, and close more streets! Hated that it stopped at 1pm ! I don't normally get up early on the weekends, it's the only time I get to sleep in.

    The only annoyance, was that (some of) the crossing guards and cops seemed either untrained, unwilling, unable, or indifferent, to keeping some blind, idiot tourists and/or locals from wandering into the river of self-powered wheels.

    Bicycles and 'blades can build up some speed! When I get crankin' on the blades, it's not that easy to veer or stop suddenly. Next time I'm carrying a whistle, though my fingers had to serve as one every so often.

    The more often this occurs, the smoother and more predictable every part of it will become, including training the crossing guards, and the wandering pedestrian obstacles.

    Thank you Mayor, city staff, and volunteers - thank you so very much!

  • Eric

    Great time! I hope this happens a lot more often. I will admit, though, while the 7AM-1PM did force me to get my lazy butt out of bed early for a change ;-), I'm with the others and wish it went later in the day. As a bonus to the businesses that didn't like the streets closed down, I think if it went all day, more people might stop in at some of the businesses after they get some biking out of their systems. As it stood, I felt like I had to get my riding in and head towards home before the 1PM curfew. All and all, though, a fantastic job! Good work, and thanks!

  • http://ynottony1.blogspot.com/2008/08/sunday-streets-san-francisco.html Iyengar Yoga Teacher, tony eason

    Great Job New York City! And thanks to your city's participation & the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newson, San Francisco will have the opportunity to experience the addition of Sunday Street - S.F.

    On 31 August 2008 & 14 September 2008, the city of San Francisco will open up a stretch of roadway bringing physical activity space to our neighborhoods, creating a route for thousands of local families, kids and adults to walk, jog, bike, skate, dance, practice yoga, enjoy tai chi, hola hoop, jump rope, engage in water sports, as well as participate in senior activities. Safe, fun activities that will attract people from throughout San Francisco and the entire Bay Area.

    Check out: Sunday Streets Course Map: http://sundaystreetssf.com/coursemap.html

    Bay Area and San Francisco residents of all ages, families, local businesses, visitors and community organizations are all invited and encouraged to join the fun. Come one come all. And it's 100% free.

    As part of this pilot program - Free Yoga Classes will be offered at the Ferry Park (between Washington & Clay streets, off of Drumm - right next to the Embarcadero #4). Bring a yoga mat, a beach towel and/or your favorite shoes - I think you'll like it!

    Check out the Yoga Teacher's Line Up:

    Wishing the best of all possible worlds,
    Iyengar Yoga Teacher, tony eason

  • Anne

    Every city should do this every Saturday. It is a wonderful event and gets people out exercising, socializing and having FUN! Great idea. I hope to implement this in my city.

  • Katie Salay

    This looks like an incredible time and made me miss New York like you wouldn't believe!

  • terry

    how about forwarding this film to every major city in the states. i'm from sacramento and what fun this could be for all. one day a month no cars on a major stretch of your city. thanks. t

  • ollie g

    oh what a wonderful film. it really represnted how fun that day was. i especially liked the nice looking middle-aged man near the middle of the film. his painting looked especially nice and i was looking to see is he would like to show it at the mary boone.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/dysprosio Joao Lacerda

    Cornelius Valderbuilt is on another video from and older new york...


  • cole haan outlet
  • 1306082727

    The street is way. The christian louboutin sale .The wind blows and blow to restore ancient ways, christian louboutin outlet
    sent into the tornado, walk in the streets looking around to people in
    love with heavy large slope, of course, can reduce hate days christian louboutin pumps
    so feet high pressure from outside, even more is the popular trend is
    in. The season of shoes of various degrees of joined the individual
    elements of restoring ancient ways: handsome Roman elements, rural
    flowers elements, take an examination of the christian louboutin knockoffs,
    and so on, count the knitting elements to really many, cut the crap,
    together with the small make up took to the streets to see how a tide
    enough snowboarding progresses. In the final small make up to you for
    ten recommended and different style of the slope of christian louboutin replica!

  • 2467141187
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ccocoo-Chen/100002407043318 Ccocoo Chen

    That ray ban sunglasses
    sale tend to be especially made to minimize that glare which occurs from
    ray ban wayfarer uk,
    snowfall in addition to mineral water. This specific searched for connected with
    ray ban sunglasses uk
    have become helpful with regard to several sports for example doing some fishing
    ray ban aviator uk,
    travelling in addition to snowboarding. A set of aviator
    sunglasses sale will let you have a very distinct watch even though
    snowboarding wayfarer
    sunglasses sale in addition to decreasing that glare which is prompted
    because of the reflection in the snowfall surface.