Video of the first car-free street day in Manhattan

Thanks to Streetfilms!

August 9, 2008 will go down in history as the beginning of Manhattan’s transformation in becoming a truly pedestrian-oriented city. Through their Summer Streets program, they held the first of three street closings to cars along seven miles through the heart of the city. How’d it go? Read the quotes below from participants (shown in the film) below and decide for yourself! Once again, any city that has a DOT (Dept. of Transportation) like New York City will be attracting hordes of creatives – Summer Streets is their idea. See the quote by the Commissioner of the DOT below.

“Every day should be Summer Streets day!”

“This is ridiculously fun. They should have done this a long time ago.”

“We’re so lucky to live in a city where Mayor Bloomberg and his team want to show the world that New York city is a sport capital of the world and a model city for healthy living,” Mary Wittenberg, President, New York Road Runners.

“This is utopia New York.”

“The general interest as we can see is that people want to take over the streets. People want to have fun, and people want to meet out as equals, and this creates a sense of belonging, and this is what makes New York the greatest city in the world. I think we have to applaud the Mayor and the [DOT] Commissioner for having the guts. Sometimes it’s much easier to do nothing, and then when you do nothing no one complains. But they are doing things in making the city more human-scale, and I think that’s what’s exciting.” Gil Penalosa, Former Parks Commissioner, Bogota, Colombia, responsible for Ciclovia, the event that started the street closing movement in the U.S.

“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 collisions with motorists.”

“For eight years we’ve been anxious to 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!”

“We’ve got two more Saturdays to go, and it’s my hope that this becomes an iconic event for New York City for the next 100 years.” Jannette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner, NYC DOT (Department of Transportation)

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