Fifth Avenue Transforms into a Pedestrian Wonderland for 2023 Open Streets Program
New York City residents and visitors have reason to celebrate this holiday season as city officials have announced the return of the highly successful Open Streets program. Once again, Fifth Avenue will undergo a magical transformation, becoming a car-free haven for pedestrians during select weekends in December.
Building on the success of last year’s initiative, the 2023 Open Streets program will see an expansion of approximately 25%. This expansion is set to close down traffic on the iconic Fifth Avenue, stretching from 48th Street to 59th Street.
“Open Streets are good for people and good for business, and we can’t wait to bring back the iconic Fifth Avenue Open Street this holiday season—bigger and better than ever,” stated Mayor Eric Adams in an official announcement. “I felt the energy walking down the middle of Fifth Avenue last year—it was electric. And as we get excited for more of the same this December, we’re moving full speed ahead on permanently reimagining Fifth Avenue, so people can have this incredible experience every day of the year.”
While the prospect of a permanently car-free Fifth Avenue remains uncertain, December will offer a taste of what such a transformation would feel like. On December 3, 10, and 17, from noon to 6 pm, Fifth Avenue will be accessible exclusively to pedestrians.
In a press release, the city disclosed that these designated Sundays will feature an array of food and drink vendors, alongside various captivating performances.
The Open Streets program isn’t limited to the Fifth Avenue corridor; it will also encompass the areas surrounding iconic landmarks like Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, both known to draw a significant number of tourists during the holiday season.
Adding to the festivities, NBC New York reported that 49th Street and 50th Street, situated between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, will transform into pedestrian-only zones from 11 am to midnight, starting on November 29 and continuing through January 2024. This seasonal pedestrianization provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the city on foot during this enchanting time of the year.
As the holiday season approaches, New Yorkers and visitors can anticipate the first major tree lighting event at Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park, scheduled for November 28 at 6 pm. Moreover, the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is set to make its grand arrival on an upcoming Saturday, offering a sight that’s not to be missed.
Editor’s Note: The Open Streets program’s expansion promises to further enhance the holiday experience in New York City, offering a festive and safe environment for pedestrians to explore the city’s most iconic locations.