Holiday Open Streets Returns to Fifth Avenue between 48th & 59th Streets during December 2023




New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled plans to bring back and expand the popular holiday season Open Street along Fifth Avenue and around Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan this December. Building on the success of last year’s groundbreaking program, the 2023 version will set a record for New York City’s largest-ever holiday season-specific Open Street — expanding geographically by nearly 25 percent to reach Central Park and running again on three Sundays in December (3, 10 (cancelled due to weather), and 17) between noon and 6:00 PM. This year, the iconic Fifth Avenue corridor will be fully open to pedestrians between 48th Street and 59th Street, in addition to the area around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall that will be pedestrianized throughout the holiday season. This dramatic expansion of public space in one of the world’s busiest neighborhoods at this time of year will significantly ease crowding — facilitating access to the iconic holiday window displays and creating a more pleasant holiday environment while also enhancing public safety for New Yorkers and visitors.

Stay tuned to hear if the December 10th date is rescheduled.

Mayor Adams’ bold vision for a pedestrian- and family-friendly Fifth Avenue has also proven beneficial to local businesses. During the program in 2022, businesses saw an additional $3 million in spending — a 6.6 percent increase — according to a study conducted by Mastercard, in partnership with the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) and Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. To deliver these commercial and safety benefits all year round, the Adams administration is working with the “Future of Fifth” partnership and their core consultant team to permanently reimagine Fifth Avenue as a safer, less congested, pedestrian-centered boulevard. Today, the Future of Fifth partnership launched a new website and a public survey for all New York City residents and visitors to kick off the community engagement and visioning process for the Future of Fifth. The survey takes approximately two to three minutes to complete and will be open through February 2024.

“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.”

“We are excited that under Mayor Adams’ leadership, we are bringing back the Fifth Avenue Open Street,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Whether you are window-shopping or taking in the Rockefeller Center tree, we are building upon last year’s successful program to add improvements this year that will make the Open Street an absolute must-visit part of the holidays for New Yorkers and visitors. And with this expansion, we expect the Open Street will be more popular than ever.”

Dior’s Carousel of Dreams on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue

View Saks Fifth Avenue’s Holiday Facade in partnership with Dior, Carousel of Dreams.

Fifth Avenue: On December 3, 10, and 17, from noon until 6:00 PM, 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.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue at 50th Street.

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 11:00 AM and 12:00 AM every day. The New York Police Department will help ensure that vehicle traffic does not enter those streets.

Details on Open Streets programming along Fifth Avenue will be announced in November. More information about DOT’s Open Streets program is available online.

In addition to the Fifth Avenue Association — the Adams administration’s close partner on the holiday season Open Streets initiative — the “Future of Fifth” public-private partnership includes the Grand Central Partnership, Bryant Park Corporation, and Central Park Conservancy, three key business improvement districts and civic organizations engaged in the neighborhood. These joint efforts to make Fifth Avenue safer and more welcoming deliver on recommendations in Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s “Making New York Work for Everyone” action plan. They also build on Mayor Adams’ $375 million investment in creating new, vibrant public spaces across all five boroughs, outlined in his “Working People’s Agenda,” as well as bold, innovative public space initiatives to bring car-free Summer Streets to all five boroughs.

“Every year, Fifth Avenue transforms into an elegant winter wonderland, and this year, Open Streets will once again turn the avenue into a roomy pedestrian haven for visitors to enjoy our Gift of Fifth holiday lineup, featuring festive performances, unique food and shopping experiences, and famously beautiful décor,” said Marie Boster, president, Fifth Avenue Association. “As Fifth comes alive with seasonal spirit and some of the most famous window displays in the world, the Open Streets initiative shines a spotlight on the businesses and retailers that the city and region have come to rely on. We are grateful to Mayor Eric Adams, the Doris Duke Foundation and our members for championing Fifth Avenue this holiday season and encourage everyone to jingle all the way to the Gift of Fifth this year.”

Don’t miss The Annual Menorah Lighting at the entrance to Central Park at 59th Street will take place on December 7, 8, 9, 10 11, 12, 13, and 14 – at 5:30pm.

While on Fifth Avenue, walk up to 59th Street to visit the Doris C. Freedman Plaza and see Public Art Fund’s current installation, Parabolic Light by Fred Eversley, on view to August 25, 2024.