In 2015 Don and I participated in New York City's annual Summer Streets -- when Park Avenue is closed to cars for from 7 AM to 1 PM on the first three Sunday mornings in August. When we heard Broadway was planning to go car free on April 21 from 9 AM to 3 PM to celebrate Earth Day we decided to head into New York to walk the section of Broadway leading up to the Great White Way. No cars were allowed from Union Square (17th Street) to Times Square (47th Street). Instead of cars, pedestrians and bicyclist ruled the street.
With the girl tied up with play practice for the day, Don and I drove to Jersey City to take the PATH into the 33rd Street Station and we started walking. By taking the PATH ($2.75 per person each way), and finding free street parking, it was a lot cheaper than driving through the Lincoln Tunnel ($16?) and parking at Port Authority ($42?). With a cheaper price tag comes more waiting around, but we made out well with catching a train in each direction.
Around the midway point we saw CitiBikes was advertising people could borrow them for free for a 24-hour period. It took us longer to figure out how to sign up for the free trial, and get started (and this was with help) than we actually rode the bikes. The caveat was you had to return them to a docking station every 30 minutes, or else incur fees. We rode about 10 minutes. I'm a wimpy bike rider in good conditions, having to weave around pedestrians and stop at every intersection all while not wearing a helmet (helmets are not provided, and I did not think to take mine with me for the day) was not my idea of fun. I think Don could have ridden much longer, or at least tried it another round.
In order to take advantage of the roads being closed until 3, we held off on lunch until 3. Made sense at the time because we didn't arrive in NYC until after noon. Then it was back to the PATH station, back to our car Don carefully wedged between two other cars (they were still in the same spot), and back on the highway to home.
If we were to do it again, I would make sure we arrived earlier. What I noticed in 2015 was the streets became more crowded, thus harder to navigate, the later it got. An earlier start would make biking easier. I'd also spend part of the day standing in a cancellation line, or in the TKTS line. If I'm spending that much time on Broadway, seems to make sense I should also see a matinee.
It was a lovely Spring day, a rarity in 2018. This allowed me to take some pictures of our adventures.
Talking to a volunteer, there is a push to close Broadway to motor vehicle traffic permanently. Times Square is already car-free. We'll see what the future brings, but you can say you heard it here first.