Large-Scale Annual Car-Free Events

DOT hosts large-scale, annual car-free events to reimagine the streets of New York City as more inviting public spaces for walking, cycling, playing and much more without the noise and congestion of cars. Major arteries in central Manhattan are open annually, on prescribed dates and times, for the public to enjoy active outdoor recreation, lively performances, immersive art installations, educational workshops, and all forms of free programming related to event-specific themes. These annual car-free events require interagency coordination among SAPO, NYPD, FDNY, DEP, DOB, Parks, and DOHMH to encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to rediscover the built environment and imagine a myriad of possibilities for its use.

Summer Streets
Summer Streets is a multi-day, annual car-free event held the first three Saturdays in August. Nearly seven miles of NYC’s streets are open for people to play, run, walk, and bike along Park Avenue and its connecting streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park in Manhattan. Programming is presented at five rest stops along the route by city agencies, nonprofit organizations, performers, and visual artists to promote fitness and outdoor recreation.

Car Free Earth Day
Car Free Earth Day is a single day, annual car-free event held the Saturday before or after Earth Day, April 22. The event opens thirty blocks of Broadway from Times Square to Union Square for people to explore on foot. Environmentally-themed programming is presented at five rest stops within pedestrian plazas by city agencies, nonprofit organizations, performers, and visual artists to promote activism and education supporting climate change awareness and sustainability.

Summer Streets 2019: Park Avenue, Manhattan
"Future Streets for Car Free Earth Day" by American Institute of Architects with ASLA and APA. Car Free Earth Day 2019: Broadway, Manhattan


  • Reclaims and transforms streets into active and attractive public spaces
  • Encourages people to use carbon-free modes of transportation
  • Reduces traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions for a day
  • Provides participants with a new perspective on the built environment
  • Showcases the rich and varied resources of New York City

Summer Streets

  • Promotes active and healthy lifestyles
  • Provides safe recreational cycling and walking route in the heart of New York City

Car Free Earth Day

  • Educates and ignites dialogue about climate change, environmental sustainability, and current transportation issues
  • Temporarily exhibits the potential of a permanent closure along Broadway, including the possibilities for unique and engaging programming in pedestrian plazas


An oversized bouquet of flowers

"Broadway Bouquet" by Terrain Work. Car Free Earth Day 2018: Broadway, Manhattan

Scope and Eligibility

  • All nonprofits and visual and performance artists regardless of residence may apply
  • Programming is offered at five rest stops; see the Summer Streets and Car Free Earth Day websites for event maps
  • Corporate entities are invited to submit ideas for event sponsorship at varying levels and may host relevant programming that relates to their brand. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, email

Nonprofit Programming

  • Nonprofits may host activities, demonstrations, workshops, classes, or tours
  • Funding is available based on the complexity of the activity
  • Equipment is provided at no cost
  • Applicants must have experience planning and leading public programs
  • Applicants must share the values and mission of the event
  • Nonprofits must staff the event and bring materials to host the activity


  • Performers may present dance, music, theater, comedy, or spoken word
  • Funding is available based on the duration and number of performances
  • Equipment is provided at no cost
  • Applicants must have experience performing in front of large audiences
  • Performances must be family-friendly and twenty to forty-five minutes in length

Public Art Installations

  • Professional artists may submit proposals to produce interactive public art installations
  • Proposals must respond to the event theme announced in the open call
  • Temporary installations are only permitted at the rest stops
  • All sculptures must be reviewed by a NY-State licensed engineer
  • Funding is available to cover expenses to produce the artwork
  • Artists must be available three months in advance of the event date to collaborate with DOT

Summer Streets

  • Applicants must be available to provide services on one of the event dates between the hours of 7 AM and 1 PM
  • Setup is required before 6:30 AM and breakdown after 1 PM as vehicles are not permitted on the route during event hours

Car Free Earth Day

  • Applicants must be available on the prescribed event date between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM
  • Setup is required before 8:30 AM and breakdown after 3 PM as vehicles are not permitted on the route during event hours


A performer at Summer Streets

Summer Streets 2018 Midtown Rest Stop, Manhattan


  • Request for Proposals (RFP) are released in early winter to solicit proposals for programming
  • Applicants are required to submit a new proposal annually for consideration
  • Applications are evaluated based on public safety, organizational and artist capacity, proposal and artistic merit, and event suitability
  • Proposals are reviewed by a project-specific committee and the event consultant
  • Nonprofits, performers, and artists must sign a legal agreement with DOT and, if necessary, hold commercial general liability insurance naming the City of New York and its event consultant as additional insureds
  • Artists must complete a final design, fabricate or prepare the artwork, and install or present the artwork on event dates

Recommendations and Best Practices

  • Read the RFP carefully and submit a complete application as soon as possible since applications are reviewed on a rolling basis with only a set number of slots available each year
  • Review past programming examples on the DOT Flickr page
  • A strong nonprofit proposal engages people of all ages and abilities in a free, fun, and dynamic activity that relates to the mission and theme of the event
  • A strong performance partner proposes a high-quality, family-friendly performance that accommodates all of the stage and event requirements
  • A strong public art proposal considers the site conditions and typical uses of a given site; responds to the goals of the event; is interactive and participatory in nature; is moveable and/or easily installed and removed each event date; and does not introduce any safety hazards for pedestrians and cyclists along the route
  • All proposals must be unique and original and not infringe on any copyright


People playing basketball wheelchair

Summer Streets 2018 Foley Square Rest Stop, Manhattan