I was skeptical when a colleague told me that Lafayette Street would be blocked off today for NYC's Summer Street's program.
Though I assumed that it would be one of the ever-present "street fairs" -- the same mystery meat, "Peruvian" sweaters, and pickpockets following crowds of tourists from one neighborhood to the next on summer weekends -- after an early yoga class this morning, I investigated.
It's great! The most amazing thing is the quiet, which extends even downtown to the courthouse area (it even seems quieter west of Broadway). Many of the Soho sidestreets are also blocked off, adding to the quiet and relative calm.
Another good thing: the tented booths lining the curbs seemed to represent local businesses. The bike shop was packed! In Soho, Lafayette Street houses more smaller businesses than Broadway, which is a sea of big box and chain stores.
I stopped to talk about the calm and quiet with a women who works for ACE, an organization that sends good people out to our sidewalks and streets to clean up after all of us.
"Less garbage, too," she said as she moved on down the curb, sweeping up a bit of paper.
She was absolutely right. Now, maybe the city sent street cleaners in beforehand. But the streets were sparkling. If you've lived or worked here long enough, you've seen people dump garbage out a car window -- could it happen so often that it's part of the impact of car traffic here in the city?
If you were driving, you might be annoyed by Summer Streets. But if you're walking, biking, or cleaning the streets...maybe not so much.
(And Summer Streets will continue on August 14 and 21.)