It was a bold New York experiment: closing Broadway to traffic for two Manhattan miles.
On Saturday, 30 blocks of Broadway was open only to pedestrians and anything on two wheels but no motor, from Times Square down to Union Square.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., city officials invited pedestrians and cyclists to join the fun, food and games marking global Earth Day, which falls on Sunday.
A part of New York normally filled with car fumes and noise was alive with artistic performances mixed with fitness classes and educational activities about a sustainable, healthy environment.
“We’ve been waiting for spring and I looked at the weather, so I started looking up things to do and found out that City Bike was free today,” said Stephanie Alexander, referring to the city’s bike-sharing program, which offered free passes for the day. “So I rode down from the Upper East Side, at least seven miles.”
She said even a day of not using cars or burning fuel “might be a good thing for the city.”
For the third time in as many years, the city made Broadway car-free – this time for a stretch longer than ever. Each point along the way was dedicated to different themes. Music and dancing filled the pedestrian plazas of Times Square, and the Garment District offered arts and crafts workshops, plus a science photo exhibition. Free rollerblade rentals got some people to the day’s finale in Union Square.
In addition to car-free Broadway, the city closed down parts of St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, Montague Street in Brooklyn, Shore Boulevard and Woodside Avenue in Queens, and Eagle Avenue in the Bronx.
AP radio correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this report.