July 27, 2023 By Bill Parry
A long stretch of Vernon Boulevard will be closed to traffic on Saturday from 44th Drive in Long Island City all the way to 30th Drive in Astoria as part of the city’s popular Summer Streets program which is expanding to all five boroughs this year.
From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Vernon Boulevard Open Streets event will feature free performances and other activities and open up the East River waterfront for visitors to play, walk and bike.
“Summer Streets will provide a wonderful opportunity for people to explore the neighborhood in a fun and active way,” Long Island City Partnership President Laura Rothrock said. “And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out the many shops and restaurants along Vernon Boulevard, visit our cultural institutions and explore our public art installation. I’m excited to see how Summer Streets will bring our community together and showcase all that LIC has to offer.”
Rothrock joined Mayor Eric Adams last month as he announced the expansion at Queensbridge Park.
“Something special happens when we open our streets to New Yorkers — so this year, we’re more than doubling the size of the Summer Streets programming and offering 20 miles of car-free streets across all five boroughs,” Adams said. “This is a bold new vision for public space in New York City — a bold new way of empowering residents, supporting local businesses, and creating open spaces. Every single New Yorker deserves access to safe, free, open space, and this administration is making it happen.”
He added that this year’s program will be the most ambitious version since Summer Streets launched in 2008 and brings a continued focus on equity. More than 500,000 people participated in Summer Streets last year.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have already enjoyed Summer Streets in Manhattan, so there is clearly sufficient demand to expand the program to Queens and throughout the city,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of providing access in all of our communities, and the expansion of Summer Streets will strongly further our goal of equitably creating much more access in Queens and across our city. Our borough looks forward to what will be a fun and exciting Summer Streets along the Long Island City/Astoria waterfront on July 29.”
Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers, the chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, applauded the expansion into Queens.
“The Summer Streets program affords communities the chance to come together on our streets and enjoy the city’s diverse public spaces,” she said. “I commend the administration for emphasizing equity and extending this program throughout the five boroughs, and I look forward to the community’s feedback on its expansion.”