Holiday season Open Streets to help ease crowds around iconic Rockefeller Center Tree

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Saturday, November 11, 2023
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree heading to NYC
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is making it's way to New York City.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The holidays are just around the corner and New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the return of a program to make the season a little less stressful for pedestrians this year.

Open Streets aims to ease crowding around the iconic holiday windows and the famed Rockefeller Center Tree while making it safer for New Yorkers and tourists.

The famed tree was cut down in Vestal and arrived in the city on November 11.

Fifth Avenue will be fully open to pedestrians between 48th Street and 59th Street on three Sundays in December -- the 3rd, 10th, and 17th -- between noon and 6 p.m.

That's in addition to the area around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall that will be pedestrianized throughout the holiday season, starting with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on Wednesday Nov. 29, through January.

The 2023 version will set a record for New York City's largest-ever holiday season-specific Open Streets program and expand geographically by nearly 25% to reach Central Park.

"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," said Mayor Adams. "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."

Fifth Avenue

On December 3, 10, and 17, from noon until 6 p.m., Fifth Avenue will be open only to pedestrians between 48th Street to 59th Street. In addition, throughout the entire holiday season, moveable barriers will be placed on the east and west sides of Fifth Avenue, between 48th Street and 52nd Street.

On days the street is not designated an Open Street, beginning in the early afternoon on weekdays and in the morning on weekends, these barriers will be used to repurpose a lane of traffic on each side of the avenue as additional pedestrian space. To accommodate high pedestrian traffic, westbound vehicle right turns will be prohibited from Fifth Avenue onto 47th Street, 49th Street, or 51st Street.

On the designated Sundays, Open Street visitors will be able to enjoy a range of performances and other forms of entertainment on multiple stages, along with street activations. Food and beverage vendors will also serve the area, and public seating will be provided.

Rockefeller Center

Starting with the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree on Wednesday, November 29, through January, the city will pedestrianize the streets surrounding Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, using movable barriers to partially or fully close streets to cars and alleviate foot traffic along sidewalks.

With the support of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and New York City Councilmember Keith Powers, West 49th Street and West 50th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, will be open only to pedestrians during the most congested hours, between 11 a.m. and 12 a.m. every day. The New York Police Department will help ensure that vehicle traffic does not enter those streets.

RELATED | 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrives in NYC


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