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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i want to be a part of it - new york, new york!

running the new york marathon is such a thrill for runners, not only because of the myriad of activities that one can do while in the city -- restaurants, museums, theater, and so on -- but also because one can literally run in the middle of the street and not worry about getting hit by aggressive cab drivers or confused tourists trying to make their way around the one-way street maze.

i was fortunate enough to have been able to run it way back when... before the lottery was implemented, before runners had to continue to train while wondering if they got in (and possibly having to scramble to find another marathon if they didn't). sigh. getting into marathons was so much simpler then... and cheaper... but i digress...

now it turns out that yogis might be able to get free access to the manhattan street scene, too, if mayor bloomberg's plan comes to fruition this summer.

here's an article posted today in the new york times:

On 3 Days in August, City Will Try No-Car Zone

Published: June 17, 2008

It has been a long-held dream of New Yorkers of a certain (greenish) stripe: the streets of Manhattan free of cars. Now, for a few hours, on a few streets, on a few weekends this summer, that dream will become reality.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Monday that he will create a car-free zone on three Saturdays in August, along a 6.9-mile stretch of streets through Manhattan, from the Brooklyn Bridge, north to Park Avenue and the Upper East Side. Cars, trucks and buses will be banned on the streets along the route from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 9, 16 and 23. The mayor was careful to describe the initiative, called Summer Streets, as an experiment.

"If it works, we’ll certainly consider doing it again," Mr. Bloomberg said, at a news conference in the East Village on Lafayette Street, which will be included in the route. "If not, we won’t. But we have never been afraid to try new ideas, especially the ones that have the potential to improve the quality of life."

The route will run north-south along Centre Street, Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue to 72nd Street. The southern half of 72nd Street from Park Avenue to Fifth Avenue will also be shut to vehicles, to link to Central Park.

Mr. Bloomberg and the transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, said the idea was to make the streets a haven for walkers, cyclists and others. Fitness, dance and yoga classes will be held along the route, and there will also be places to rent bicycles. The plan was reported in The New York Sun on Monday.

"It's a new way to use a street, using it more as a park than as a thoroughfare," said Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group promoting walking, bicycling and mass transit that worked with the city to develop the car-free zone.

"Everyone around the world knows about Park Avenue as one of New York City's most storied thoroughfares, and to turn that over to pedestrians and cyclists, even though it's just for three consecutive Saturdays, I think that sends a very powerful message that the tide is turning so that bicyclists and pedestrians are on at least an equal footing with drivers."

the rest of the article, as well as a map of the area involved, can be found here.

update: speaking of new york, i just received a big apple event notice from soyjoy a few hours after i posted the article above. too bad i can't make it; not only would the airfare be ridiculously high on such short notice, but i'm already holding tickets to a much-anticipated performance by thievery corporation, seu jorge, bebel gilberto, frederico aubele, and los amigos invisibles at the hollywood bowl this sunday :)

by the way, there supposedly will be equivalent soyjoy "art and optimism" events in other major cities around the country, including los angeles, so stay tuned.

here's the new york event posting, just in case you can make it:

Solstice in Times Square

WHAT: A free yoga-fest in the heart of Times Square. Both experienced and beginning Yoga enthusiasts find tranquility and transcendence in the midst of the urban energy of the world's most commercial and frenetic place.
WHEN: Saturday, June 21, 2008
WHERE: In Times Square, at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets


8AM - 9:15AM (Open to all levels)
Start off the longest day of the year with Sun Salutations and a moderate vinyasa practice that will help you to set an intention and direction for the day, the summer, and ideally the year. We will reflect on the challenge of staying calm amidst the chaos of New York City by tapping into the light and energy that exist both inside and outside of us.
INSTRUCTOR: Tim Tompkins

10AM - 11:15AM (Beginners)
Yoga rookie? Out of practice? No worries! Join us for this beginner’s class and learn basic poses with a focus on aligning the body and connecting each movement to the breath. Learn sun salutations as you enjoy yoga in Times Square! A perfect opportunity for learning fundamentals or jumpstarting your practice again!

NOON - 1:30PM (Bikram)
Bikram Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga conducted in a heated room which is why this class is being held at high noon!
Bikram Yoga is a beginning yoga series for everyone! In the 90 minute class you will work every muscle, tendon, ligament and joint in your entire body giving you an incredible sense of well being.
INSTRUCTOR: Santiago Solis

3PM - 4PM (JUST ADDED! Open to All Levels)
Learn the traditional Hatha Yoga postures in a given sequence allowing you to stretch and strengthen your body to maximize your real potential. You will learn how to revitalize your yoga practice using the same sequence on a daily basis. We will continue to expand our awareness of breathing throughout the session and end the session with a brief meditation.
INSTRUCTOR: Nishit Patel

5PM - 6:15PM (Open to All Levels)
If you are looking for a more energetic and athletic yoga experience, oflow yoga is the perfect high-intensity vinyasa flow for you. The dynamic sequences combine power with creativity and core conditioning with energy work to get your body moving. Fueled by sexy, body-rocking music, oflow will conquer mind over madness in the middle of Times Square.
INSTRUCTOR: Joschi Schwarz

7:30PM - 8:45PM (Sunset Session - Open to all levels)
If you've been curious about the connection of body, mind and spirit, why not explore in the most challenging of environments? In the midst of Times Square, find PEACE through a flow of yoga postures arranged for all levels that encourage you to include all the components, inside and outside the body!
INSTRUCTOR: Douglass Stewart

click here for the link to the event website for more information about the yoga teachers and studios involved.