Oct. 6, 2021 By Max Parrott
The city Department of Transportation is bringing the party to Astoria’s Ditmars Boulevard open street in October.
The DOT is sponsoring kid-friendly performances and bike workshops across upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens throughout the month. The Queens portion of the celebrations will take place on the open street on Astoria’s Ditmars Boulevard, which runs from 33rd to 36th Street, and fully closes every Friday and Saturday.
Street Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to public space programming, will provide activities along the open street from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct.15, including a touch-free obstacle course consisting of multi-color barriers, balance beams and a limbo bar. The organization will also bring its Street Maker kit, which allows neighbors to use chalk and other drawing tools to create murals on the pavement.
The Astoria open street will provide a location for performances by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, a vaudeville-inspired group of street performers, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The initiative is part of the city’s effort to support the Open Streets program, which closes roadways down to cars in residential areas, specifically in neighborhoods that are underserved and need them most. In May, the city passed a law that mandates the DOT provide the resources for Open Street sites in areas that would otherwise be underserved by the program.
The celebrations comes as a collaboration with Lyft, which will be promoting Citi Bike on the Open Streets. In neighborhoods like Astoria, which have seen Citi Bike expansion in the past two years, Lyft is offering riders 50 percent off the cost of an annual membership.
“Open Streets have fundamentally transformed the relationship New Yorkers have with their neighborhoods,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We’re reclaiming space from cars while promoting educational and cultural activities and helping our neighbors embrace the bike boom in our city.”
Makes sense. It has been empty since its opening. Everyone is on the sidewalks no one is using the closed streets.