NYC Car Free Day is between Union Square and Times Square, including FREE bicycle and rollerblade rentals, fitness classes, climbing walls, guided walking tours, chess classes, art workshops and more. Learn about beekeeping, recycling, sustainable energy, and more
Events are organized into zones, and each zone has different freebies, including giveaways. There’s something happening on every block of the 30-block stretch, and everything is FREE and family-friendly.
One of the best giveaways is from Citi Bike, which is giving FREE day passes at the Flatiron Rest Stop to use on Car Free Day.
There’s just too much happening to put it all into one posting, so we’ve broken it up in to two.
Here’s the full schedule, from the official NYC website, block-by-block, heading north from Union Square, zone by zone, to Flatiron.
Car Free Day events from Herald Square to Times Square.
Broadway Plaza: 17th to 18th Streets
|10:00 am||Tai Chi: Bill Pagano|
|11:00 am||Tabata 30: Delida Torres|
|11:30 am||Hip Hop: Corinne Tate|
|12:15 pm||Zumba: Wilber Escobar|
|1:00 pm||Upright Yoga: Jenn Nigro|
|2:00 pm||Dance Hiit (Dance): Ebonny Fowler|
18th to 19th Streets
Historical and Sustainability Programming
Union Square: Center of 19th and Early 20th Century Political New York: This tour will examine Union Square and its surrounding area, pointing out the significant political events that occurred there and describing the important monuments in Union Square Park. Among the monuments discussed will be Henry Kirke Brown’s monumental statute of George Washington, the statute of the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Charles Francis Murphy flagpole. Learn about such important events such as the rally during the Civil War, the labor rallies with such orators as Emma Goldman in the early part of the 20th century, the spontaneous memorial services in the days after 9/11 for the victims of the World Trade Center Bombing and the Greenmarkets in honor of Earth Day. The tour finishes at the last standing Tammany Hall on 17th Street, the Washington Irving House and will end at Pete’s Tavern on 18th Street.
Meet: 9:30 AM at the NE corner of 18th Street and Broadway. Registration is not required.
Union Square: Crossroads of New York Walking Tour: Explore the social and political history of the neighborhood and learn about the people and events that shape this vibrant community every day.
Meet: 2:00 PM at the Abraham Lincoln Statue to take part in this 90 minute tour. Registration is not required.
Get to Know the Neighborhood with Big Apple Greeter: Big Apple Greeter is a welcome visitor program. Volunteers share their favorite neighborhoods in New York City with visitors from around the world. Experience Greeting for yourself by taking a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood with a volunteer Greeter.
GrowNYC Zero Waste Programs: Have recycling questions? GrowNYC has answers. Test your NYC recycling skills at this interactive demo and learn about free resources for reducing waste, composting food scraps, reusing and recycling clothing, and more with GrowNYC’s zero waste programs funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation.
Manhattan Borough Historian
The Manhattan Borough Historian’s History Quiz Game: How well do you know your city? Quizmaster and Manhattan Borough Historian, Michael Miscione, will pose questions about the history, geography, and culture of New York. Some will be easy. Some will be hard. Some will be in between. If you score enough points you’ll win a NYC sewer alligator.
Flatiron Plaza: 21st to 22nd Streets
Citi Bike Car Free Day: In partnership with Mastercard, Citi Bike will offer FREE day passes to all on Car Free Earth Day. Click here for information on how to obtain the free rides, or download and visit the Citi Bike app on Car Free Earth Day, April 21st.
Flatiron Plaza South
22nd to 23rd Streets
Bike Safety Quick Check: Bike New York will teach you how to determine whether or not your bike is ready for a ride. Cyclists will learn how to conduct a quick, simple and easy-to-remember bike safety inspection including proper tire inflation for a safe, smooth and efficient ride every time.
“Bike Parts Bingo” and “Tips and Tricks for Being a Savvy City Cyclist”: WE Bike NYC will hold two fun workshops to help participants overcome barriers to cycling in the city. “Bike Parts Bingo” will teach participants about the parts of the bicycle so they can be more confident about using and maintaining their bike. “Tips and Tricks for Being a Savvy City Cyclist” will empower participants with information to help make biking in the city safer and easier.
Rock Climbing Training: Brooklyn Boulders Foundation will offer a rope tying workshop to demonstrate safe and effective preparation for rock climbing. After tying successful climbing safety knots, participants will be awarded with items used in the outdoors such as, sunglasses, hats or other items. Founded in 2010, BBF serves to improve the environment and make climbing accessible to the public, specifically inner-city youth and people with physical disabilities.
Explore the Outdoors: Since 1876 the AMC has promoted the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the outdoors while helping people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop an appreciation of the natural world. Stop by our area to learn more about how you can get outdoors with us, test your nature knowledge through trivia games, or learn new skills with building a tent. A few lucky winners will take some great prizes.
Crossroads Conversations: Transit in the Face of Climate Change: Harnessing the distinctive power of public space as a platform for unexpected encounters and compassion between strangers, Crossroads Conversations invites members of the public to join in 10-minute conversations with a fellow stranger facilitated by journalists and subject area experts. Participants will discuss the challenges, oddities, and opportunities of commuting in the city and how these narratives are altered as New York’s public transit system moves towards a more sustainable future in the face of climate change.
Streets as GREEN Places: Reimagining streets as places is about helping people begin to see streets in their entirety: not just their function in transporting people and goods, but the vital role they play in animating the social and economic life of communities. During CFED, PPS will host an interactive visioning exercise focused on the importance of seeing Streets as GREEN places, not just conduits for traffic. Come and sit with us under our handmade trees – we’d like to know, “What would you do if your street was Car Free every day?”
Riders Alliance: Often times, riders feel powerless when their train or bus is consistently unreliable. But riders have the power to use their voice as constituents, and to take action when public transit lets them down. We want to equip New Yorkers with the simple tools for how to become a transit activist and join our fight for better public transit.
Re-Imagine a Better Broadway: The vast majority of New Yorkers are making their commutes car-free, and Broadway in Manhattan deserves a bold vision. Join Transportation Alternatives to learn how we’re transforming Broadway into Streetopia! By transforming the way we use NYC streets, we can improve quality of life in Midtown where it is needed the most.
511NY Rideshare: Helps commuters and employers in the New York metropolitan area find and use easy, cost-effective and reliable alternatives to driving alone, including carpooling, vanpooling, mass transit, bike-to-work programs and telework. 511NY Rideshare is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Checkmate!: Chess classes and free play offered throughout the event. Learn how to master the game and play to earn your spot in the event tournament.
Flatiron Plaza North
23rd to 24th Streets
|9:00 am||Pop Up Yoga|
60 minute yoga class. Stretch, flow, tone muscles, and relax mind and body in this friendly and all-inclusive class. This class is perfect for beginners or more experienced students looking to refine their basics, all are welcome! Participants must bring their own yoga mat as mats will not be provided.
|10:00 am||WRKNYC FITFAM Bootcamp (+ WRKNYC KIDS)|
This family friendly boot camp will get the community sweating with a combination of aerobic activities and plyometric fun. From jump squats to burpees to push-ups and more, our objective is simple: just keep moving!
|11:00 am||Gibney Dance Company|
Gibney Dance presents Hands are for Holding, three short performances, followed by a talk with a trained community educator. The performances depict healthy and unhealthy relationships, and serve as approachable touch points in identifying signs of abuse and discussing preventative actions. After the performance, the audience is invited to participate in a movement exercise, a chance to experience the connections between movement and social action. For most, the exercise takes many attempts to complete, and like healthy relationships, takes patience and compromise between partners.
|12:00 pm||NYC Department of Youth and Community Development’s Step It Up NYC|
Youth dance and step teams from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development’s Step It Up NYC competition will perform. The teams are competing for this year’s championship in June, stepping it up against bullying in their communities and through their dynamic performances. Learn more at nyc.gov/dycd, and check out the teams on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook by following @NYCyouth and #stepitupnyc.
|1:00 pm||PopFit Kids|
FUNctional Fitness club with a mission to empower children on the importance of anytime, anywhere exercising and an objective to provide them with the tools for developing life-long healthy habits.
|2:00 pm||Ori Manea Tahitian Polynesian Dance|
Traditional Tahitian Polynesian dance related to the Earth and its different elements (water, wind, flora and fauna). Following the performances, a dance workshop will be offered.
Flatiron Plaza North
23rd to 24th Streets
Upcycling Spring Craft: Root for your plants and veggies to grow big and tall with this awesome upcycling Spring craft! Use GoGo squeeZ pouches or the cardboard from our packs and line with foil as a seed starter.
Broadway/Fifth Avenue at 24th Street
Public Art Installation
Broadway Bouquet: Broadway Bouquet aims to capture the spirit of spectacle and wonder that is scale-bending urban environment cultivates. It nods to the culture of flowers that can be found on a nearby corner from Manhattan to the boroughs. It takes this portable NY landscape and blows it up to a monumental scale (36’ in length) where the individual trees and shrubs replace cut stems and flowers. The artwork captures the imagination by illustrating the potential for a car free future with a living, breathing garden in the middle of one of the busiest spaces in the world. Special thanks to Blondie’s Treehouse, DeSimone Consulting Engineers and Duggal Visual Solutions.
24th to 25th Streets
Movement Games with the Movement Creative: Come play some of our favorite movement games – having fun changing rules and learning parkour. This workshop is for ages 7+- all levels.
|9:00 am – 10:30 am||Free Play/Open Activation|
|10:30 am – 11:00 am||Performance|
|11:00 am – 11:30 am||Game Class|
|11:30 am – 1:30 pm||Free Play/Open Activation|
|1:30 pm – 2:00 pm||Performance|
|2:00 pm – 3:00 pm||Game Class|
Mile High Run Club (10:00 AM and 1:00 PM)
Mile High Run Club – Group “Adventure” Run: Build confidence in your stride and get to the finish line faster by hitting the pavement with expert instruction led by NYC’s top running coaches from Mile High Run Club. Designed for all levels, each session will begin with warm up drills to improve form & increase joint mobility prior to a run that will last up to 40 minutes in length.
Free Rollerblade Rental: Go! Sports USA will provide Free Skate Rentals and Skate Lessons at this year’s Car Free NYC event. Come cruise the streets of Broadway traffic free!
25th to 26th Streets
Learn about Air Quality, Climate, and Health in NYC: The New York City Health Department is working hard to protect New Yorkers by monitoring air quality across the city through its New York City Community Air Survey. The Health Department is also examining the health risks of current and future extreme weather and working with its partners to reduce those risks. Stop by the Health Department’s booth to learn more about traffic-related air pollution and health, heat- and cold-related illnesses, to see how your neighborhood’s air quality and climate health report compares to others, witness an air monitor working in real time, and check out the Environment and Health Data Portal.
Department of Sanitation: The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) keeps New York City healthy, safe and clean. DSNY’s goal to contribute zero waste to landfills by 2030 helps New Yorkers protect our environment. Visit DSNY to learn how to keep garbage from landfills, have your picture taken with our mascots and receive a free reusable bag (while supplies last)!
Implementing Green Technology to Revolutionize NYC: As part of NYC Parks continuing effort to ensure our city is as sustainable, resilient and efficient as possible we invite you to learn about the many technologies and best practices we’re implementing to bring this vision to life. We will be demonstrating a wide range of tools, energy systems, green infrastructure solutions and waste management methods to improve our public spaces. Visitors are welcome to continue their exploration of these cutting edge ideas by signing up to participate in further free NYC Parks classes, projects and volunteer internships.
Coexisting with Urban Wildlife: As you travel along the event, stop and learn about the challenges migratory birds face traveling through the City, and ways you and your family can help them along their journey. Visit with NYC Parks Wildlife Unit to learn more about these birds and all urban wildlife we encounter everywhere from our parks and green spaces to our roads and roofs.
Bees and the City, Bees and You: Want to help bees and other pollinators in NYC? We’ll show you how! Stop by for a taste of honey, and discover how you can participate in our conservation and education programs citywide.
The Building Blocks of the Sustainable City: A multitude of codes, regulations, and policies contribute to making New York a more sustainable and resilient city for the years to come. From green roofs to car share, street trees, and bike lanes, New York City has developed a variety of policies over time meant to make the city greener and more livable for future generations. Join the Department of City Planning for a series of fun and interactive games that show how these policies fit together and illustrate how ordinary New Yorkers can contribute to their success.
GreeNYC #BYONYC Giveaway: GreeNYC is dedicated to educating, engaging and mobilizing New Yorkers to take small steps that make big strides for our city and our planet. To help NYC meet its ambitious sustainability goals of sending zero waste to landfill, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, stop by and take the Bring Your Own (BYO) pledge. You’ll join other New Yorkers already saving money and going green. When you pledge to BYO today, we’ll give you a free reusable shopping bag or water bottle to get you started!
NYC Accessible Dispatch: Access the City Like Never Before: Learn more about the TLC Accessible Dispatch Program, which expanded in 2017 to provide wheelchair accessible taxi service in all 5 boroughs, a service that was previously available only in Manhattan. The NYC Accessible Dispatch Program gives visitors and residents with disabilities greater access to green and yellow wheelchair accessible taxis, with booking available via phone, online, and through a mobile app. TLC will be promoting our program for both passengers and drivers.
26th to 27th Streets
Experience the Wonders of Math with MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics: Join the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) to participate in one of three fun activities and test your knowledge about math. Plant the Daisy: This task is harder than you think! Math Unleashed: Knot theory would come in handy to keep these puppies from escaping! No Left Turn: Can you find your way through the maze without making a left turn or a U-turn?
NYC Green Infrastructure: Multiple city agencies work together to install green infrastructure in NYC streets, parks, and other places. At Car Free Earth Day, staff from New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Department of Design and Construction, and the Parks Department will explain how green infrastructure works. There will be a rain garden display and permeable pavement to explore.
DEP Water-On-The-Go: The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) protects public health and the environment by supplying clean drinking water, collecting and treating wastewater, and reducing air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution. Since 2010, DEP has placed portable Water-On-the-Go drinking fountains around the city during the summer months to promote the high quality of NYC Water and to offer it as an economical, healthy, and environmentally responsible alternative to bottled water and sugary beverages.
DOT Street Ambassadors, Games & Activities: The mission of the Street Ambassador Unit is to engage the public, gathering their feedback and knowledge to better develop and implement street improvement projects. Join the team on Earth Day as we activate Broadway with fun games and activities to learn about how NYCDOT is #improvingNYCstreets. Our activities will include Bike Network Dominoes, Design Your Own Dream Street, and DOT Sudoku!
Join NYC DOT Safety Education to learn about ways to ride a bicycle safely in New York City. We will have riding tips and other safety material as well as special equipment to distribute. For everyone from beginning riders to every day bike commuters.
Bicycle and Greenway Program, NYC DOT: NYC Bicycle & Greenway Program is responsible for planning and managing the city’s 1100+ miles of bicycle facilities. In 2017, NYC DOT’s Bicycle and Greenway Program installed an unprecedented 25 miles of protected bicycle lanes as well as 66.3 miles of dedicated cycling space throughout all five boroughs. DOT Bicycle & Greenway Program tent will be available to speak about the Bicycle & Greenway Program’s projects. Staff will illustrate projects with photo books and posters, and distribute FREE literature including Bike Maps, Bike Smart Guides, Jamaica Bay Greenway and Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.
Adopt-A-Highway – For A Cleaner, Greener NYC: New York City Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway Program provides opportunities for individuals, organizations, and businesses to participate in the cleaning and greening of New York City roadways. The Adopt-A-Highway Program seeks to stimulate the public’s sense of environmental and social responsibility. Visit the Adopt-A-Highway tent to take a free photo booth picture or a selfie to commemorate Car Free Earth Day and receive a free gift.
NYC’s Energy Efficient Street Lights: DOT’s Energy Team works to support the City’s and the Agency’s OneNYC 80×50 Greenhouse Gas emission goals, to reduce the city’s energy use 80% by 2050. The Energy Team will showcase an interactive display of DOT’s new LED street lights, showing how much more energy efficient they are compared to the old High Pressure Sodium (HPS) street lights. Come see the City’s street lights close up!
Click here to see all NYC Car Free events between Herald Square and Times Square.