Showing posts with label outdoor dining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoor 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, February 24, 2022

Zoning proposal to make outdoor dining permanent heads to City Council today

The summer of 2020 on Seventh Street

Today, the proposal to remake outdoor dining in NYC heads to a full City Council vote. 

Last Thursday, the Council's Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and the Committee on Land Use voted to recommend the approval of a zoning proposal, which is a first step in creating a permanent outdoor dining program. 

City Council will be voting on this same resolution today.

All this follows the Council's lone public hearing on the proposal, a contentious 9-hour marathon featuring 250 people testifying for or against the program on Feb. 8. 

One takeaway from that, per published reports: Julie Schipper, head of the Department of Transportation's Open Restaurants Program, told City Council that the dining structures erected in the summer of 2020 won't be allowed to remain standing under the new guidelines. 

"We don't envision sheds in the permanent program. We are not planning for that," Schipper said. "What would be in the roadway [are] barriers and tents or umbrellas, but not these full houses that you're seeing in the street." 

This CityLand post outlines what needs to happen... 
To establish a permanent open restaurants program, several legislative and administrative changes would need to occur. First, a zoning text amendment that eliminates certain restrictions on where sidewalk cafes can be located needs to be approved. Last November, the City Planning Commission voted to approve this text amendment, and now the amendment needs the approval of the City Council. 

Next, the City Council would need to pass legislation that would repeal the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection’s authority over sidewalk cafes and authorize the Department of Transportation to establish a permanent program. 
Once the City Council approves the program, the Department of Transportation and other relevant agencies would need to establish administrative rules about the program, which would also be subject to a public comment process. 
But, as The Village Sun reported last Friday, the Land Use Committee "voted to 'modify' the bill ... by removing the DOT as the lead agency." 
However, this does not necessarily mean the DOT is out of the picture for good. Basically, moving forward, as part of the process of creating the new law, Velazquez and fellow councilmembers will now be deciding whether D.O.T. should continue to run the program or whether the job should be handed off to another agency. 
This Gothamist piece from Feb. 15 has more on the design of future outdoor spaces. 

City officials have said they hope to have a permanent program to begin in 2023.

As The Sun pointed out: "Basically, a lot is currently in the works and still unsettled."

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

City Council hosting public hearing on permanent outdoor dining legislation today

Top photo from Washington Square Park Saturday by Jeremiah Moss 

Updated 2/9

Per the Post: Julie Schipper, head of the city Department of Transportation's Open Restaurants Program, told City Council yesterday that the dining structures that popped up in the summer of 2020 won't be allowed to remain standing after the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

"We don't envision sheds in the permanent program. We are not planning for that," she said. "What would be in the roadway [are] barriers and tents or umbrellas, but not these full houses that you're seeing in the street."
----

City Council will hold its lone (remote) public hearing today on the city's Open Restaurants program

City officials are looking to make then-Mayor Blasio's no-fee emergency measure launched in June 2020 when indoor dining was prohibited a permanent part of the dining landscape. The Department of Transportation (DOT) would oversee the new program with updated policies and procedures for sidewalk and curbside service. (The Open Restaurants text amendment entered a public review last June.)

Per an article on the hearing via the Post:
Under the current proposal, eateries seeking licenses to operate outdoor dining would have to shell out $1,050 each and then pay a $525 renewal fee following a yet-to-be-determined time period. It also sets up various safety measures and other restrictions for the pop-up, al fresco dining spots to follow, including prohibiting use of advertising signage. 
A permanent outdoor dining program drafted by the de Blasio administration was approved by the Planning Commission last November, but it never reached the Council for a vote before the term-limited mayor left office at year's end.
Streetsblog has a comprehensive preview of the hearing at this link.

According to various estimates in media accounts, the city claims about 100,000 jobs were saved through outdoor dining allowances during the pandemic. 

City Council will hold a final vote on the measure at an unspecified date later this year.

Meanwhile, there is opposition to these plans. This past Saturday, the Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy (CUEUP) — an alliance of neighborhood and block associations, including several in the East Village — held a march and rally called "Chuck the Sheds" in the West Village to speak out against making the Open Restaurants program permanent. 

In the invite for Saturday's rally, the group noted:
Open Restaurants ... serves us noise, mounds of trash, rats, fire hazards, blocked sidewalks. Ambulances and fire trucks can't access our homes from these narrow and cluttered, impassable streets. The problems were there from the beginning for all to see, yet the Mayor and the City Council chose not to look or listen.
And from the group's website:
CUEUP supports our neighborhood restaurants, and wants them to not only survive, but thrive. However, we oppose making permanent the Open Restaurants and Bars program. Policies regarding the future of restaurants also directly impact the lives of residents and small shops, who must be part of the decision-making process. The top-down process that created the permanent program was unjust and undemocratic.
Nearly 100 people, including several local elected officials, such as District 1 City Councilmember Christopher Marte, attended the rally. You can find coverage at the Post ... Village Sun... and Bowery Boogie.

As part of the public review process, the DOT presented its proposed plan to all 59 Community Boards last year. (Find reaction from CB3's meeting from July here.) As Streetsblog pointed out: "The city's zoning dashboard makes it clear that there’s a lot of controversy. About 30 community boards rejected the city’s proposal; about 22 supported it or at least did not oppose it."

Meanwhile, we continue to hear complaints about the abandoned dining structure on Sixth Street at Avenue A. (Previously here and here.) This structure belonged to August Laura, which officially closed in mid-December. Neighbors say the space has become "a 24-hour shooting gallery."
One resident, who filed a complaint on Dec. 23, shared the 311 service request... and is still waiting for the city to do something about the abandoned structure.
In a tweet, the DOT says the structure has been scheduled for removal, though it didn't say when this would happen.

We've had discussions with other residents about the street eateries that belonged to restaurants that either closed or moved away, such as Ahimsa Garden on 10th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. The Indian restaurant decamped for Midtown East in November. Their former outdoor space remains boarded up on the street... a for rent sign is on the empty storefront...
Residents have asked who is responsible for this now. Should the restaurant have taken this down before moving? Is it the landlord's duty? Or does this fall to the DOT?  

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Indoor masking recommend for vaccinated New Yorkers; local businesses change entry policies

Updated 10:30 a.m. 
New York City will require proof of vaccination to enter all restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues, Mayor de Blasio announced this morning. 

"If you're unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things," de Blasio said, as reported by CNN. "If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated." 

The mandate will go into effect next month and apply to employees and customers. 

Eater has more details on the program, dubbed "Key to NYC Pass." 

"The program, which appears to be the first of its kind in the United States, will start on Aug. 16 with full enforcement beginning on Sept. 13."

 ----- 

Yesterday, city and state officials recommended that New Yorkers start wearing masks indoors again — even if they have been fully vaccinated.

Said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi: "I am making a strong recommendation that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in public indoor settings. This is based on our review of the latest scientific evidence showing that the delta variant of the coronavirus can spread even more easily than previously thought." 

However, Mayor de Blasio is not issuing a mask mandate at this time. "We want to emphasize vaccinations, vaccinations. That is the whole ballgame," he said yesterday, as reported by Gothamist. In addition, Gov. Cuomo said that he is asking private businesses — including bars and restaurants — to require proof of vaccination as a condition for entry. 

"I am asking them, and suggesting to them, go to vaccine-only admission," Cuomo told reporters. "I believe it is in your best interest." 

Meanwhile, before yesterday's announcements and recommendations, several East Village businesses had announced a change in their policies. 

To eat inside at Yellow Rose, the Tex-Mex restaurant at 102 Third Ave. between 12th Street and 13th Street, diners must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Outdoor seating will remain open to all diners. 

Starting today, Nowon, the Korean restaurant at 507 E. Sixth St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, will only serve vaccinated patrons indoors. Outdoor tables will remain open for any guests. 

The owners of Ruffian, the wine bar at 125 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue, and Kindred (pictured above), 342 E. Sixth St. just west of First Avenue, are suspending indoor dining until further notice. Their outdoor spaces will remain in service.

Eater is compiling a list of restaurants requiring proof of vaccination here.

The Anthology Film Archives, which reopens for in-person screenings on Thursday, had previously announced that only vaccinated (and masked) moviegoers will be allowed in for now at the theater on Second Avenue and Second Street. To see Stomp at the Orpheum Theatre on Second Avenue, guests 12 and over must show proof of vaccination. 

Elsewhere, White Trash, specializing in mid-century modern furnishings at 304 E. Fifth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue, requires vaccination proof for entry.

According to city data, 55 percent of all adult New Yorkers have been fully vaccinated; the number is 66 percent in Manhattan — and even higher in the 10002, 10003 and 10009 zip codes. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A post-storm look at East Village curbside dining

Based on an early-morning walk on several side streets and avenues... it appears that the curbside dining structures (streetearies!) passed their first major winter test during the nor'easter...
The City suspended curbside dining as of 2 p.m. yesterday when the Department of Sanitation's snow alert took effect. Per Eater:
In a snow alert situation, restaurants are required to secure their furniture, remove electric heaters from the road, and remove overhead coverings, if possible. Restaurants don’t, however, need to remove any structures or barriers this time around.
It's possible that restaurants will be able to resume roadside dining this evening at the earliest. 

The city recently imposed more guidelines on restaurants, such as requiring that streetside barriers being filled with 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of sand or soil.

And the structures, many of them quite elaborate, looked to have made it through Winter Storm Gale...
... and even some of the less-sturdy-looking structures along St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue seemed to fare OK...
The next question is whether NYC bars-restaurants will be able to survive winter with a ban on indoor dining, reluctance on behalf of patrons to eat outside in cold weather and other ever-changing restrictions that will make staying open extremely difficult, owners and operators have said

Restaurant industry officials point to the state's own data showing that restaurants and bars made up 1.4 percent of COVID-19 cases in the last three months, compared to private gatherings, which constituted nearly 74 percent.

Monday, November 30, 2020

1st Avenue curbside dining structure is gone with the wind (again)

Today's high winds — reported at 40-plus mph at times during the gale warning — toppled this curbside dining setup on First Avenue between Fifth Street and Sixth Street (thanks to Jeremiah Moss for the photos!)
Turns out the structure belongs to Panna II, which was not open at the time. Owner Boshir Khan told Curbed that this was the third time (as Curbed noted — !) that his structure has toppled over.

Per Curbed:
[H]e hasn’t been able to install a sturdier structure because of the expense; this one, he says, cost him $2,000, and more substantial ones can cost more than ten times that figure. "If you want to do it permanently, it's a lot of money,” he says. Even though he's already looking into putting it back up, Khan says he's still unsure about how plausible outdoor dining will be once the weather turns from chilly to flat-out cold: "We have a heater and everything, and people [still] don't want to sit down." Over the past two weeks, Khan says, no diner has wanted to eat outside. 
NYC restaurateurs have until Dec. 15 to fully adapt their structures to the winter, per city guidelines.

An EVG reader also reported a damaged curbside structure outside Takahachi/Drom on Avenue A near Sixth Street...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Last night's high winds damage outdoor dining spaces on St. Mark's Place

Given the gale-force winds last night (and that rare tornado warning!), we wondered how the neighborhood's outdoor dining structures fared... a quick survey this morning found some damaged spaces along St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue... 
... though, to be honest, these spaces often look similar on any given Sunday morning... thankfully the damage didn't appear to be any worse than this around the neighborhood (please let us know in the comments if you noticed other storm-related damage) ...

Gothamist has a recap of the storm's wrath right here.  

Thursday, July 23, 2020

One month on, a look at curbside dining in the East Village


[Gnocco, 10th Street]

We're one month into the city's Open Restaurants program — now in place through October — that allows for curbside dining.

Under an emergency program launched on June 22 as part of the Phase 2 reopening to aid the ailing restaurant industry, nearly 7,000 establishments citywide were authorized to serve food and drinks on sidewalks and curbside spaces.

It hasn't been easy. As previously reported, restaurateurs have had to scramble to stay ahead of the Department of Transportation's seemingly ever-changing guidelines for outdoor dining.

East Village spots such as Kindred, the Roost, Foxface and Il Posto Accanto were among the places that had to tear apart their previously OK'd curbside arrangements – within 24 hours and under the threat of losing their outdoor dining permit. (And we haven't even mentioned the fast-breaking thunderstorms and stifling heat that has added to the stress of the outdoor experience — for both staff and customers.)

Gov. Cuomo has also threatened to shut down bars and restaurants that allow patrons to congregate on sidewalks without social distancing and masks. "It's stupid what you're doing," he said on Monday.

As for the makeshift spaces, they are coming together, looking more comfortable by the day with the additions of paint, plants and patrons. Last week, freelance photographer Eric Leong documented the variety of outdoor dining structures in the East Village. "I enjoy seeing the creativity in designs," he said.

Here's a look at the spaces in action...


[Lavagna, 5th Street at B]


[Brazen Fox, 3rd Avenue at 12th Street]


[Maiden Lane, 10th and B]


[B-Side, Avenue B]


[9th Street at 3rd Avenue]


[Oh! Taisho, St. Mark's Place]


[St. Mark's Place]


[Kitchen Sink, 5th Street]


[Boilermaker, 4th Street]


[One and One, 1st Street at 1st Avenue]


[7B/Horseshoe Bar, 7th at B]


[Mary's O's, Avenue A]


[Amor y Amargo, 6th at A]


[TabeTomo, Avenue A]


[William Barnacle Tavern and Foxface, St. Mark's Place]


[Thursday Kitchen, 9th Street]


[Jeepney, 1st Avenue]


[3rd Avenue]


[Phebe's, the Bowery]

You can find more examples of outdoor dining at his website.