open streets

Landscape Architecture, Policy, Urban Design

All renderings courtesy of SeeThree and ODA

When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City last spring, the city launched a successful effort to give pedestrians safe outdoor space through its”Open Streets” program, which closed some streets to cars. Extremely popular with New Yorkers, the initiative, along with its Open Restaurants and Open Culture counterparts, was expanded and made permanent this year. A local architecture firm is looking to capitalize on this reclamation of public city space with a new proposal aimed at reviving the once blossoming Flower District.

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City Living, Policy

Photo courtesy of the Belmont Business Improvement District

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced plans to reimagine New York City streets once again with “Open Boulevards,” an expansion of the popular Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs that launched at the start of the pandemic. The mayor said the initiative “supercharges” the existing program with “multiple blocks in a row filled with restaurants, performances, and community activities.” The Open Boulevards announcement continues City Hall’s “Streets Week!,” which so far has included new plans to lower speed limits and add protected bike lanes.

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City Living, Policy

Photo looking south on open West End Avenue, taken by 6sqft on 5.16.20

The popular program that closed streets to cars for pedestrian use will be made permanent under legislation passed by the New York City Council on Thursday. The “Open Streets” initiative first launched last spring as a way to make social distancing easier and to reduce crowds at parks during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the city. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would provide some funding and resources to the largely volunteer-led program while ensuring the open streets are fairly allocated among communities.

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Bronx, City Living

Photo courtesy of the Belmont Business Improvement District

One of New York City’s most famous foodie destinations will once again transform into an outdoor dining hot spot this spring. Starting April 30, “Piazza di Belmont” returns to the Bronx’s Little Italy neighborhood, with several restaurants setting up al fresco seating along historic Arthur Avenue. Developed by the Belmont Business Improvement District, the European-style experience first debuted last summer as part of the city’s “Open Restaurants” program.

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City Living, Events

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the opening of the Open Culture Program to allow live performances on designated streets. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

More than 100 streets in New York can become stages under the city’s Open Culture program that launched this month. Modeled after the Open Streets and Open Restaurant initiatives that close some streets to cars and let restaurants set up creative outdoor dining seating, this new permit type allows ticketed, socially distanced performances, rehearsals, classes, and workshops to take place on blocks in every borough. Mayor Bill de Blasio this week said the first three performances under the program would take place on Friday, with events in Mott Haven, Williamsburg, and Harlem.

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Art, City Living, Museums, Policy

The Museum of the City of New York opened an outdoor photo installation this summer titled “New York Responds,” Photo courtesy of MCNY

The New York City Council on Thursday passed legislation permitting cultural institutions to use public outdoor space for events and performances. Sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, the bill requires the city to create the “Open Culture” program, modeled after the city’s successful outdoor dining initiative, which lets restaurants set up seating on sidewalks and some streets closed to cars. The program is set to be established by March 1, 2021.

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Midtown, Transportation, Urban Design

Can Times Square ever be completely car-free?

By Devin Gannon, Tue, November 10, 2020

Rendering courtesy of 3deluxe

It’s been over ten years since cars were first banned in some sections of Times Square. Is it time for additional street closures along bustling Broadway? In a new design study, the Germany-based architecture firm 3deluxe has reimagined Times Square to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, trading vehicular traffic lanes for recreational activities, landscaped features, and public transportation. The concept comes as New York and other cities continue to reexamine the value of safe public space as the fight to control the coronavirus pandemic continues.

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Restaurants

Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr cc

Just days after he expanded the city’s popular Open Streets program to 87 streets and nine pedestrian plazas, Mayor de Blasio announced that 40 of these locations will now be open on weekdays to accommodate outdoor dining. Previously, the car-free streets were only allowed to operate on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays. “Restaurants deserve every chance they can get to serve more customers this fall – and, as the weather gets cooler, New Yorkers deserve every chance they can get to enjoy outdoor dining,” said Mayor de Blasio.

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Restaurants

Rockwell Group’s DineOut NYC in Manhattan’s Chinatown; Photo courtesy of Emily Andrews for Rockwell Group

Even as the city prepares to resume indoor dining this month, more restaurants will be able to take advantage of the program that allows expanded street and sidewalk seating. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week seven new locations for outdoor dining on open streets across the five boroughs, bringing the total to 87 streets and nine pedestrian plazas designated for restaurant use on weekends. The latest batch of outdoor dining streets will be overseen by a number of neighborhood restaurants, including Gertie’s in Williamsburg, Kheo-Yo in Tribeca, Ray’s Bar on the Lower East Side, and others.

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City Living, Restaurants, Upper West Side 

Open streets outdoor dining along West 47th Street, photo by CityRealty

On Friday, Mayor de Blasio announced that an additional 15 locations would be closing to traffic and opening their streets for outdoor dining through a combination of the city’s Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs. This brings the total to 62 participating streets. Some of the latest include 13 blocks along Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side, another stretch in Chinatown, Koreatown, a few in Noho/Soho, and five blocks along Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. Since restaurants were first able to open for outdoor dining when phase two began on June 22, more than 9,500 have signed on to participate.

The full list of open streets

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