Cars will again be banned from using the streets around Rockefeller Center this holiday season to manage the return of the crush of tourists in the area.
“We expect that as New York City continues to recover from the pandemic, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will once again be a major destination for New Yorkers and of course for the tourists once again flocking to our city,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman in a statement Wednesday.
“Creating more space for pedestrians around Rockefeller Center will keep people safe while ensuring minimal disruption to the rest of the life of the city. New Yorkers can of course do their part by avoiding unnecessary driving in Midtown during the holiday season,” Gutman said.
Only pedestrians will be allowed on 49th and 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Additional restrictions are expected for the tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1.
Officials will remove one lane of traffic on each side of Fifth Avenue between 48th and 52nd streets and no turns will be allowed on 47th, 49th and 52nd streets.
The east lane of traffic along Sixth Avenue between 48th and 52nd streets will also be eliminated to accommodate crowds. MTA buses will skip all stops between 48th and 52nd streets and crosstown buses will be re-routed around Rockefeller Center while the area is closed to vehicles.
The street closures started for the first time in 2019 to address the dangerous crowding conditions on Rockefeller Center’s sidewalks, where hordes of locals and tourists jostle for space during the holidays.
Last year, the area saw fewer visitors as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions kept people indoors and away from large gatherings.
Two Manhattan elected officials, Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilman Keith Powers, want the “permanent pedestrianization” of the streets around Rockefeller Center.