The Fifth Avenue Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) is looking to bring back the popular Open Streets program for the 2021 season and is looking for locals to help out by donating funds.
Last year, as part of a citywide effort, the city closed portions of Fifth Avenue on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings for 17 weekends to create safe havens for neighbors and visitors to enjoy and to help local restaurants, then hampered by restrictions on indoor dining.
At first, Sunset Park’s Open Streets turned Fifth Avenue between 45th and 47th streets into a car-free zone for open-air dining on Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 11 p.m.
With the city making the program made permanent, it will allow other shops throughout the district, in addition to restaurants, to use the outdoor space.
According to the BID’s GoFundMe page, no government funding has been provided to pay for running Open Streets. So the BID is fundraising from the community, businesses, and the program participants.
The BID’s current goal is to provide 27 weekends for the program, which will help include expanded dining and shopping zones as well as safe youth activities.
On April 22, David Estrada, the BID’s executive director, announced that it has received enough donations that paid the program for the month of June.
“We can now afford traffic-free streets for shopping and dining from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on all Saturdays in May and June,” he said.
The three zones are slated to be 39th to 42nd streets, 45th to 47th streets and 55th to 59th streets.
“Let’s keep going until October and add Fridays too,” he said.
So far, $7,645 has been raised.
The citywide program was designed following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), It was designed to allow communities to transform streets into public space and to support small businesses, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sunset Park staples that benefited for the program included Johnny’s Pizzeria, Judy’s and George’s Restaurant, all on Fifth Avenue.
To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3sX7Zzg.