Showing posts with label curbside dining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curbside dining. Show all posts

Friday, September 16, 2022

City removes the outdoor dining structure from Pardon My French on Avenue B

This morning, workers from the Department of Sanitation and Department of Transportation swooped in on Pardon My French, and removed the restaurant's curbside dining structure on Avenue B between Sixth Street and Seventh Street. (The block was shut down to through traffic during this time.) 

An EVG reader shared these photos...
A resident who lives nearby told us that the structure had been used for storing chairs and tables for the sidewalk cafe. And we don't know if the city had fined the restaurant for the space or asked them to remove it.
The city recently began cracking down on abandoned curbside-dining structures through the Open Restaurants program. 

Per the city
Having removed the initial 24 abandoned sheds, the task force has begun identifying and removing additional sheds, investigating another 37 sheds identified as egregious violators of Open Restaurants program guidelines, and reviewing complaints and summons data to identify and remove other abandoned sheds throughout the five boroughs. Sheds reported to be abandoned will be verified as abandoned two separate times before receiving a termination letter, followed by removal and disposal of the shed. 

The task force will also review sheds that, while potentially active, are particularly egregious violators of Open Restaurants program guidelines. In these cases, sheds will be inspected three separate times before action is taken. 
After each of the first two failed inspections, DOT will issue notices instructing the restaurant owner to correct the outstanding issues; after the third visit, DOT will issue a termination letter and allow 48 hours before issuing a removal notice. DOT will then remove the structure and store it for 90 days — if the owner does not reclaim it in that period, DOT will dispose of the structure.

Recent East Village removals include PocoDia, the Ainsworth and Baker's Pizza. Of those four, only Poco remains in business. 

Thank you to Concerned Citizen and Salim as well!

Monday, August 29, 2022

City removes Poco's outdoor dining structures

Top 3 photos by Salim; additional reporting and photos by Stacie Joy 

On Friday morning, more than a dozen Department of Sanitation and NYPD members closed the block of Third Street between Avenue B and Avenue C to dismantle Poco’s outdoor dining structures on the SE corner of Third and B...
... the view to the west from Avenue C...
Sources on the block said that Poco, known for their crowded boozy brunches, had accrued too many violations and did not have permits for their outdoor structures — one on Third Street and three huts attached to the restaurant's north-facing wall. 

According to a local building superintendent, "they are very noisy; they make too much speaker noise." A local resident on the block witnessed the dismantling: "DoS came with sawzalls and tore it down. They have been piling up violations since Covid. We called it the 'Covid Corner.'" 

A Poco employee, who declined to give her name, said the owners decided to take down the structures. So why were the police and the Department of Sanitation there? "I don't know." The employee also said she didn't know if any citations were issued on the structures. 

Here's how Poco looked after city workers left as staff members set up for Friday's brunch service...
The lack of outdoor dining structures didn't seem to dent Poco's brunch business on Saturday afternoon...
Poco's website advertises its "legendary brunch," where $47 gets unlimited mimosas, Bloody Marys, red or white sangria, and an entrée. Thursday through Sunday nights, Poco offers a "Bottomless Dinner" — $65 per person plus tax and tip for two hours of unlimited well drinks, wine and/or beer. 

The city recently began cracking down on repeat offenders and abandoned curbside-dining structures through the Open Restaurants program. 

Per the city
Having removed the initial 24 abandoned sheds, the task force has begun identifying and removing additional sheds, investigating another 37 sheds identified as egregious violators of Open Restaurants program guidelines, and reviewing complaints and summons data to identify and remove other abandoned sheds throughout the five boroughs. Sheds reported to be abandoned will be verified as abandoned two separate times before receiving a termination letter, followed by removal and disposal of the shed. 

The task force will also review sheds that, while potentially active, are particularly egregious violators of Open Restaurants program guidelines. In these cases, sheds will be inspected three separate times before action is taken. 
After each of the first two failed inspections, DOT will issue notices instructing the restaurant owner to correct the outstanding issues; after the third visit, DOT will issue a termination letter and allow 48 hours before issuing a removal notice. DOT will then remove the structure and store it for 90 days — if the owner does not reclaim it in that period, DOT will dispose of the structure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

City removes several abandoned curbside dining structures in the East Village

Late last week, the Department of Transportation removed the curbside dining structures from outside several now-closed East Village restaurants, including a five-car-long one at the Ainsworth on Third Avenue and 11th Street.

The paperwork attached to the businesses reads in part:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the authorization granted by the City of New York's Open Restaurants Program is HEREBY TERMINATED.

As observed by a City inspector on several instances, the seating area in front of your restaurant is deemed abandoned and, as a result, violates the terms and conditions of the Open Restaurants Program.
Other removals included outside Dia at 58 Second Ave. between Third Street and Fourth Street...
... and Baker's Pizza at 201 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street (H/T Steven) ...
Last Thursday, a sledgehammer-toting Mayor Adams announced that a few dozen abandoned outdoor shelters would be demolished citywide. (City press release here.) 

Standing before a deserted shed in Manhattan, Adams emphasized his support for making outdoor dining a permanent fixture of city dining — an outcome officials have been working toward for months. But he said its longevity had to be safeguarded in a manner that is "safe, clean, and respectable to our neighbors and those who live in the communities."

In addition to removing structures that belong to now-shuttered restaurants, Adams pledged to crack down on repeat violators of city outdoor dining regulations. Thirty-seven sheds are currently being investigated, according to his office.
The Open Restaurants program has been operating since June 2020. 

A group of city residents filed an Article 78 lawsuit to end renewals of the emergency executive orders that authorize NYC's temporary Open Restaurants program and to end its operation.

"If the City wants to make an improved or expanded sidewalk café program, we're all for it. We'd love to be part of that discussion," said Leslie Clark, a petitioner in a legal action challenging the Open Restaurants program, in an advisory sent last week to local media outlets. "Communities throughout the city should have access to sidewalk cafés. But the Temporary Open Restaurants program has become a blight on our city, and it needs to end."

In any local dining-shed news, the still-open Amigo by Nai removed its structure at 29 Second Ave. between Second Street and First Street...
Elsewhere, the Parkside Lounge on Houston at Attorney moved its structure away from the curb to accommodate the new eastbound bike lane... (photo Sunday by Stacie Joy)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Takahachi removes its curbside dining structure

Workers on Tuesday removed the curbside dining structure from outside Takahachi, the 32-year-old restaurant on Avenue A between Fifth Street and Sixth Street. 

As far as we can recall, the space hadn't been used since last fall (though it was pretty festive when it was in service).
And here's how the space looked last evening...
There is a No Standing sign in place here, and parking is not allowed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week. 

The signs arrived in late June ahead of the new Bus Only lane on the southbound section of Avenue A below Fifth Street. (Not sure why the city placed the signs here, when there isn't a bus lane — unless that's coming soon. Somtum Der next door still uses its curbside dining space.) 

Meanwhile, as you likely read, a new lawsuit was filed that seeks to end the city's outdoor dining program. The suit blames the Open Restaurants program, which was implemented during the pandemic in 2020, for excessive noise, traffic and garbage. 

The story was well-covered. You can read more at NBC 4 ... the Post ... NY1 ... ABC 7 ... and Crain's, among many other outlets.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Cleaning out the former businesses along Stuyvesant Street

Photos by Steven

This past week, workers continued to empty out the now-closed retail spaces along Stuyvesant Street, including Sunrise Mart and Panya.

Village Yokocho, Angel's Share, Sunrise Mart and Panya shuttered in recent weeks. Cooper Union, which leases the buildings from their owners and had subleased them to the Yoshida Restaurant Group for more than 25 years, said it was the tenants' decision to move on. (This post has more background.)

Workers removed half of the sidewalk dining structure here on April 21 (H/T MP!) and removed the rest of it in recent days... (not sure who used the outside space — Village Yokocho? Panya?) 
This is the second recently closed business that had someone remove the outdoor dining structure, joining Root & Bone on Third Street. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Workers removing the former Root & Bone curbside dining structure

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Workers today started taking down the curbside dining structure at the now-closed Root & Bone on Third Street at Avenue B.
This removal might make some folks happy: Several readers/residents noted (in the comments and in emails) that this space was a "rat bonanza" or "rat haven."
We're told that some of the wood here is up for grabs...
Root & Bone closed on April 17 after eight years in service.

Thanks to the reader for the initial tip!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

[Updated] City is removing abandoned curbside dining structure on Avenue A and 6th Street

City crews are on the NE corner of Avenue A and Sixth Street this morning dismantling the abandoned dining shed outside the now-closed August Laura. (Thanks Goggla for the pic!) 

As of this writing, they have yet to remove the restaurant's longer structure on Sixth Street.

As previously reported several readers-residents have complained about the structure on the Sixth Street side. The bar-restaurant August Laura closed in the corner space here in early December. Neighbors say the space has become "a 24-hour shooting gallery."

Complaints to the city on these two structures date to Dec. 23.

To be continued...

Updated 9:46 a..m. 

Sixth Street side is coming down... pics via Goggla....
Updated 2 p.m. 

And later... thanks to Steven for the photo on the Sixth Street side...

Monday, January 10, 2022

Abandoned curbside dining structures attracting more attention on the NE corner of 6th and A

The abandoned curbside dining structures on the NE corner of Sixth Street at Avenue A continue to attract attention... both from residents who want to see them removed and from people looking for a space to shelter...
Several handmade signs noting "Waiting on DOT for removal" now adorn the exterior walls ...
As previously mentioned, several readers-residents have complained about the lengthy structure on the Sixth Street side. The bar-restaurant August Laura closed in the corner space here in early December, and up to 10 people were said to move into the structure the night workers cleared out the restaurant. Another reader said that it has become "a 24-hour shooting gallery."

In late December, reps for the Department of Homeless Services posted notices for a cleanup on the Sixth Street structure. According to a resident who lives nearby, that action saw the removal of some mattresses and several abandoned household items.

In October, then-Mayor de Blasio ordered the Department of Transportation to remove unused dining sheds erected as part of the Open Restaurants program. City workers have reportedly taken down dozens to date.

We're told that residents have contacted 311, the DOT and local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera's office about these structures.

While the retail space is for lease, 94-96 Avenue A is also set for auction on Jan. 31 with an opening bid of $4.8 million. Penn South Capital paid $9.6 million for the property in March 2019. The building's new owners added a one-floor extension here in 2020.

Monday, December 27, 2021

City posts notice of a clean up in the abandoned curbside dining structure on 6th Street

Reps for the Department of Homeless Services have posted notices on that abandoned curbside dining structure on the NE corner of Sixth Street at Avenue A.

Per the notices, city crews will clean up this space beginning today...
As previously mentioned, several readers-residents have complained about the lengthy structure on the Sixth Street side. The bar-restaurant August Laura closed in the corner space here in early December. Up to 10 people were said to move into the structure the night workers cleared out the restaurant. Another reader said that it has become "a 24-hour shooting gallery."

August Laura's small structure on Avenue A has been boarded up to prevent people from entering...
While the retail space is for lease, 94-96 Avenue A is also set for auction on Jan. 31 with an opening bid of $4.8 million. Penn South Capital paid $9.6 million for the property in March 2019. The building's new owners added a one-floor extension here in 2020.

Given that the building is for sale, it's likely that there won't be a retail tenant in the space for some time. 

In October, Mayor de Blasio ordered the Department of Transportation to remove unused dining structures erected as part of the Open Restaurants program. City workers have reportedly taken down dozens to date, including the curbside dining structure outside the shuttered Auriga Cafe at 198 Avenue A at the time.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to make the Open Restaurants program permanent. Gothamist has a recap of some of the issues here. A previously undisclosed survey shows support for the program, per Streetsblog

The Department of City Planning and DOT launched a public survey to improve the designs and rules regarding permanent outdoor dining setups. You have until the end of the year to share your thoughts on the program with the city. Find the survey at this link.

Updated 6 p.m. 

It appears that city did clean out the Sixth Street structure ... photo this evening by Steven...
Previously on EVG:

Monday, August 2, 2021

The two-story dining structure that almost was on 4th Street

Back on Thursday, EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these photos from Fourth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... where workers were starting to add a second level — complete with artificial turf — to the dining structure outside Izakaya NYC...
Work continued on Friday morning ...
Though by the end of the day, the job's mission changed to a removal after neighbor complaints — two-story structures are not allowed — led an inspector from the Department of Transportation to the site, who nixed the double-decker.

Here's a look at the de-constructed second level and streeteatery yesterday...
Curbed, who first reported on this Friday, received a statement from Izakaya NYC owner Yudai Kanayama:
Kanayama said he wanted to add extra outdoor space as COVID cases are rising once again, but reiterated that he was taking down the upper level. "I thought the only potential to create more seating was this," he said. The plan had been to lay fake turf upstairs and make the area more like a park or lawn than a restaurant with tables and chairs. "I was basically looking for the best we could do under the restrictions by being more creative and ambitious."
The DOT said that an inspector will return this week to confirm that Izakaya NYC removed the in-progress second deck. 

The ill-fated duplex also made the cover of the Post on Saturday, in which Steve Cuozzo excoriated al fresco dining structures. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Reports from CB3's public review of the Open Restaurants program

Photos by Stacie Joy



On Tuesday night, officials from the Department of City Planning and Department of Transportation were on hand at a joint committee meeting of Community Board 3 as part of a public review process to make permanent the Open Restaurants program. (You can find a copy of the presentation at this link.)

More than an estimated 90 people packed into a room at the Boys Club of New York on 10th Street and Avenue A... while more waited outside... (the meeting was also streaming live)... 
EVG contributor Stacie Joy was in attendance. She noted that the meeting started at 6:30 with an agenda item — something to do with the M14A/M14D — that didn't draw much interest from those gathered. 

And then came the main event, which lasted nearly two hours. (CB3 needed to be out of the room by 9 p.m.)

Here's a quick take from Stacie:
It was HIGHLY CONTENTIOUS. It was supposed to be an 85-person cap but the place was packed and there was still a line outside. The DOT presentation drew a lot of negative attention from the crowd, who were frustrated with their inability to speak. 
The DOT speech was interrupted constantly with claims of a filibuster and frustration that the community wasn't given time to speak. When they finally were given time, each person was given one-minute. Everyone was yelling and it was a mess.
Several media outlets covered the event. Here's a selection (update — added the Curbed entry at 1 p.m.): 

• Gothamist
"This Isn't Paris!" East Village Community Board Gets Heated Over Outdoor Dining
"This whole program is going to turn our area into an open-air alcohol zone," echoed David Crane, a longtime CB3 member. One resident said he'd been forced to listen to "'Happy Birthday' sung outside my window 20 times a day," as others shouted that "this isn't Paris!" 
While local business owners were largely absent from the meeting, they too expressed anger with the DOT's handling of the program. Moshe Schulman, a managing partner of Kindred on 6th Street, said the agency had conducted a "sweep" just prior to the meeting, handing out citations for offenses such as being too close to a tree and blocking a "no parking" sign. 
He was given just 24 hours to address the violations, which he described as "ridiculous and inaccurate." "People think we’re done with COVID and everything is all great," Shulman told Gothamist. “We’re just starting to get on our feet and try to normalize service.”
• Streetsblog
 First Salvos Fired as de Blasio’s ‘Permanent’ Dining Sheds Begin the Community Board Process
There was plenty of talk of compromise and coexistence from the crowd of 90, but many attendees went nuclear, demanding no outdoor dining at all, denouncing struggling restaurants and bars as greedy land-grabbers, and, in one case, waving signs inspired by George Orwell's classic Dystopian novel: "1984: War is Peace. 2021: Residential is commercial." 
One opponent was overheard outside the meeting comparing their struggle to that of Martin Luther King Jr. One speaker declared — to a room where more than half the people were still wearing masks — that the pandemic was over, and therefore outdoor dining should be, too.
The Village Sun
East Siders are 'mad as hell' at meeting on Open Restaurants
Residents bemoaned the transformation of their community into what might be dubbed "Bourbon Street with yurts." 
"I love my neighborhood!" one man started yelling emotionally over and over, also mentioning his "mental health," as others applauded supportively. 
One woman, in an apparent reference to the Black Death of the 14th century, a bubonic plague spread by fleas piggybacking on rats, warned that the outdoor huts could breed a repeat. "These sheds are rat traps!" she declared. "We are feeding rats. We just went through a pandemic — we are inviting the next pandemic with these sheds."
• Curbed
A young guy in his 30s named Sam Zimmerman stands up and speaks in support of the program — just the second person to do so thus far. He says the meeting's attendees are not representative of what the neighborhood actually thinks about streeteries, and that most people support the program. "People who are against it are people who come out to these things," he says, and is promptly booed. "There's 165,000 people in this district," he continues. "How many of them are here? People don't want to get screamed at by their neighbors." Everyone mumbles loudly, and someone yells "Where are you from?" and he responds: "From here!"
You can watch the meeting for yourself right here... it begins at the 16-minute mark...
 
The Open Restaurants text amendment entered a public review on June 21. This proposal is the first of a series of changes to create the permanent Open Restaurants program launched in June 2020 to help the pandemic-stricken restaurant industry. Per the city:
In addition to the zoning amendment, the City will move administration of the sidewalk café program from the Department of Consumer Affairs and Workforce Protection to DOT, streamline the application process and create rules for a permanent roadway dining program. Altogether, restaurants will have a single agency to go to apply for outdoor dining, with a clear set of design guidelines on what is allowed.

And:

The proposed zoning text amendment would affect every community district within the City. The proposed action would remove the definitions of sidewalk cafes from the Zoning Resolution and any mentions of them in special districts, as well as other clean-up text to fully remove any zoning prohibitions related to the operation of sidewalk cafes.
As part of the public review process, the CB3 Committees will produce a resolution, which the full board will vote on in September. Comments from residents may also be emailed to mn03@cb.nyc.gov. to be considered for the September vote.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Community Board 3 committees to discuss the longterm future of outdoor dining

--- 
 Updated 12:27 p.m. 
Per CB3: Depending on the attendance, seating may be limited due to social distancing. The meeting will also be live-streamed here. Comments may also be submitted to mn03@cb.nyc.gov. to be considered for the September vote.
--- 

City officials from the Department of City Planning and Department of Transportation are exploring an overhaul of zoning and permitting regulations to allow the Open Restaurants program to become permanent. 

As Crain's reported, the city had to suspend roughly 20 zoning rules when Mayor de Blasio announced the program in June 2020.

The Open Restaurants text amendment entered public review on June 21. This proposal is the first of a series of changes to create the permanent Open Restaurants program. Per the city:
In addition to the zoning amendment, the City will move administration of the sidewalk café program from the Department of Consumer Affairs and Workforce Protection to DOT, streamline the application process and create rules for a permanent roadway dining program. Altogether, restaurants will have a single agency to go to apply for outdoor dining, with a clear set of design guidelines on what is allowed.

And:

The proposed zoning text amendment would affect every community district within the City. The proposed action would remove the definitions of sidewalk cafes from the Zoning Resolution and any mentions of them in special districts, as well as other clean-up text to fully remove any zoning prohibitions related to the operation of sidewalk cafes.
Tonight, there's an in-person presentation, discussion and public testimony at a joint Community Board 3 Committee meeting. (See below for the meeting details.) As part of the public review process, the CB3 Committees will produce a resolution, which the full board will vote on in September.

Several community groups are encouraging participation. According to an email yesterday from the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC):
"This meeting is your opportunity to share your concerns about whether/how this program should continue, and how it might be improved, while the details are still being hashed out. If this privatization of public space is to become permanent, residents and business owners should have input."
The EVCC also calls attention to other issues that they see with the program.
This emergency program, while critical for struggling restaurants, has created untenable noise and sanitation issues for neighborhoods with high concentrations of eating and drinking establishments: 
• amplified music, smoking and crowds below residents' windows 
• bags of trash and discarded containers exacerbating rat problems 
• choked paths for pedestrians and emergency vehicles 
• fire safety concerns about the use and storage of propane heaters 
None of these issues are readily resolved through the usual channels, leaving very little recourse for residents or business owners. This has not changed, even as problems worsen with increasing traffic as the City reopens.
In addition, several neighbor groups — LES Dwellers, Orchard Street Block Association, the Chinatown Core and the East Fifth Street Block Association — are urging residents to voice any concerns about the Open Restaurants program...
In an email, the group members state:
In many areas, the eating and drinking sheds have become severely problematic. As such, we are adamantly opposed to Outdoor Dining Sheds becoming a permanent fixture in NYC. We appreciate that these sheds were a lifeline for the hospitality industry during the pandemic and allowed residents a safe place to social distance. 
Since COVID restrictions have been lifted, we think it is time for the emergency dining sheds to be retired, and the sidewalk cafe process is reinstated regarding alfresco dining. 
However, you feel about the Open Restaurants program, no public input or proper environmental impact study was commissioned. Instead, the city rammed the sheds through behind closed doors with little to no oversight, calling it an unbridled success with few issues to resolve.
Last week, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation extending the usage of municipal spaces for restaurants through the middle of next year. 

Tonight's in-person Committee meeting starts at 6:30 at the Boys Club of New York, 287 E. 10th St. at Avenue A. You can find a copy of the presentation at this link.