Shabbos Open Streets Are Coming to Staten Island

Image Credit: New York City Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation and the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island partner to launch two new Open Street locations during Shabbos. On May 31, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced that the agency will be launching two new Open Street locations in Staten Island. The Open Streets will be located in the Castleton Corners neighborhood, one on Suffolk Avenue, between Queen Street and Harold Street, and the other on Vermont Court, between Gansevoort Boulevard and Suffolk Avenue.

Open Streets is a program that temporarily transforms NYC busy streets into a car-free oasis for pedestrians, cyclists and children engaging in recreational activities. The Open Streets program encourages utilizing streets in new ways that make them more accessible and enjoyable for all New Yorkers. The Open Streets program is community-led, meaning community groups can apply to Transportation to launch and operate locations. Eligible organizations include cultural, faith-, and health-based institutions, schools, business improvement districts, and other local community groups. For CityLand’s past coverage about Open Streets, click here.

The Open Streets on Suffolk Avenue and Vermont Court were initiated in partnership with the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island (COJO), and will be in effect starting June 2 and running through September on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. These Open Streets aim to support physical activity and recreation during Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest and celebration that begins at sundown on Friday and commemorates the day that God rested from creating the world.

In addition to the Shabbos Open Streets, Transportation also announced the launch of an Open Street location on Front Street in Staten Island this summer. The Front Street Open Street will run from the St. George neighborhood to the Stapleton neighborhood on Staten Island’s North Shore, during the following six Saturdays: June 17, June 24, July 15, July 22, July 29 and August 5. Each Saturday will feature a different theme, and the hours of operation for Front Street will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The announcement of these Open Street locations are the latest in a series of announcements by Transportation, which previously announced 160 new Open Street locations Citywide in April. One of those locations include Water Street in Stapleton, stretching from Beach Street to Canal Street. The Open Street on Water Street will be in effect on Saturdays from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm, starting June 3.

Both the Front Street and Water Street Open Street locations are being supported through Transportation’s Public Space Equity Program, which offers staffing support, programming, and funding to locations in underserved communities—ensuring access to welcoming public spaces for all New Yorkers.

Transportation will continue to expand the Open Streets program, and will announce another batch of Open Streets soon.

Transportation Commissioner Rodriguez stated, “Our Shabbos Open Streets are a great example of the broad variety of partners NYC DOT engages with to manage and program our Open Streets. We welcome community groups and institutions to consider applying to take part in the program and help New Yorkers reimagine their streets.”

Council Member Kamillah Hanks, who represents the district, stated, “This project not only promotes pedestrian-friendly spaces but also fosters economic development and community engagement. By activating Front Street on these six Saturdays with unique themes, we are creating a vibrant and inclusive environment for residents and visitors alike. I look forward to seeing this initiative grow and its ongoing success in our borough.”

COJO Preisdent Mendy Mirocznik stated, “When the idea of having the Open Streets project was first proposed by Staten Island Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana as a solution for the community children for having open space to safely enjoy and for community members to gather and enjoy we were thrilled. It provided a solution of creating a safe recreational space for the community to enjoy.” She went on to say, “What I am most proud of is this great partnership of community and government working together in helping to make this plan a reality. We truly are looking forward to a great experience that helps people.”

Source: NYC DOT to Launch Shabbos Open Streets on Staten Island, May 31, 2023

By: Dylan Shusterman (Dylan is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2025.)



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