New Yorkers took back the streets in Manhattan Saturday for the first of three consecutive Saturdays of the Summer Streets program. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
For three Saturday mornings, you can come scrap off the cobwebs and get on your feet. Jump Double-Dutch, or, if that's too much footwork, grab a bike, run a few miles or rent some free in-line skates.
"We have seven miles of car-free streets for people to walk, dance, bike down," said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "And for the first time, we're going to give New Yorkers a new understanding of tunnel vision."
That's because for the first time in 174 years, the Park Avenue Tunnel opened to pedestrians. The tunnel became the canvas of a sound and light show. People lined up around the block to go in at 33rd Street.
The art installation is called the Voice Tunnel, a light show fueled by human voices, those of visitors who can record themselves at a microphone and watch the lights react. It's the creation of Mexican artist Raphael Lozano-Hemmer.
"At any given time, as you walk into the tunnel, you hear the voice of up to 150 New Yorkers simultaneously," Lozano-Hemmer said.
It sounds a little like Times Square at rush hour, but the lights will thrill you.
"I'm an artist, and I fully support this kind of stuff," said one person. "I absolutely love it, especially when people turn urban environments into a piece of artwork. It's pretty amazing."
If underground isn't your thing, and street life is too tame for you, there's always the sky. In the shadow of the courthouse, you could zip line your way across Foley Square. But many signed up to do so, so if you want to, get there early next Saturday.
You can also enjoy free samples, courtesy of Whole Foods. And yes, there's free food, too.
"Nothing more delicious than free food," said one person. "Nothing funner than free things."
If you missed Summer Streets on Saturday, it'll be back next Saturday and the Saturday after that. Even the tunnel installation will reopen.
For more information, go online to nyc.gov/summerstreets.