Fifth Avenue will partially close to all traffic on select days in December

November 21, 2022

The decorated holiday window at Saks Fifth Avenue in 2016; Photo by Phil Roeder on Flickr

Fifth Avenue will be closed to cars in celebration of the holiday season next month. As first reported by Time Out, the “Fifth Avenue for All” initiative will take place on three Sundays next month, December 4, 11, and 18, from noon to 6 p.m., allowing pedestrians to safely stroll along Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street.

Instead of the usual hectic procession of vehicles, food vendors and live performances will take over Fifth Avenue. Musicians will range from local choirs to instrumental ensembles, including groups from the Kaufman Music Center, Brooklyn High School of the Arts, and acts like Manhattan Samba and Brooklyn United.

The car-free strip will allow more pedestrians to take in the festively-decorated holiday windows, along with New York City’s crown jewel of the holiday season, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Fifth Avenue and the area surrounding Rockefeller Center are notorious for being congested with pedestrians during the holiday season. In non-pandemic years, roughly 800,000 people visit Rockefeller Center every day during the holiday season, as 6sqft previously reported.

“Fifth Avenue for All” isn’t the first time the city has tried to address the area’s congestion during the holiday season. In 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated a scaled-down version of this year’s street closure, partially closing off 49th and 50th Streets as well as Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

More than 50 years earlier, in July 1970, Mayor John Lindsay closed the iconic avenue from 42nd to 57th Streets in a test program to see its effects on the area’s commerce, traffic, air pollution, and “citizens’ convenience,” according to the New York Times.

For this past Halloween, the Department of Transportation launched “Trick-or-Streets,” which closed over 100 streets, plazas, and other commercial corridors to cars to make trick-or-treating safer for young New Yorkers.

[Via Time Out NY]


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