Making Dining Sheds Permanent - What Could Go Wrong?

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Making Streetside Dining Permanent​

The coronavirus pandemic moved New York City’s restaurants onto the sidewalks and into the streets. Now the city is moving to make a variation of its Open Restaurants program permanent. In July, the city proposed a change to zoning rules that would permit restaurant structures at the curb to stay up indefinitely. Officially, they are only temporary now. The city expects to begin taking applications for the permanent structures late next year.​

The restaurant industry, one of the city’s economic tentpoles, is doing better now than it was at the beginning of the year, when the New York City Hospitality Alliance said that 92 percent of restaurants could not pay the rent. Still, Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the alliance, said that only about two-thirds of restaurant employees have returned to work since pandemic restrictions on dining were eased. Restaurants added only 3,000 restaurant jobs in August, the fewest in any month this year, he said.
Complicating the picture for restaurants were two incidents last week. One involved an Upper East Side restaurant that has a shedlike structure at the curb. A 28-year-old man was shot while having dinner outside. The police said he got into a struggle with one of two men wearing masks who jumped out of a sport-utility vehicle and approached customers in an attempted robbery.
The other incident underscored the continuing tensions over vaccinations, as well as restaurant workers’ new frontline roles in dealing with regulations. The police arrested three women from Texas who they said had punched a hostess at Carmine’s, an Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. The police said last week that the women had been vaccinated.

The lawyers said the brawl began after two men who joined their party could not provide similar proof.
Justin Moore, a lawyer for one of the women, described the altercation as “mutual combat” and said that the hostess had used a racial slur. But Carolyn Moore, a lawyer for the restaurant, said by email that “nothing about this incident suggests race was an issue.”

A “wild, wild West atmosphere”​

From an urban planning perspective, Open Restaurants was not about keeping customers plied with entrees, desserts and drinks — and thus keeping restaurants in
business. It was, and is, about how public spaces in the city can be used.
Daniel L. Doctoroff — a former deputy mayor who is now the chief executive of the urban-innovation company Sidewalk Labsargued in an Op-Ed in The Times in July that planners “need to think bigger than dining sheds,” noting that he was “not anti-shed” but “pro-public space.”
Opponents say that making outdoor dining permanent would compound neighborhood headaches.
One neighborhood where opponents have been particularly vocal is the Lower East Side — “an incubator of what not to do,” said Diem Boyd, the founder of the community group. She complained that outdoor restaurants have contributed to an “open-air nightclub, wild, wild West atmosphere.”
Opponents like Ms. Boyd and Cue-Up, an alliance of community groups whose full name is the Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy, maintain that the Open Restaurants plan would amount to a “land grab” for restaurants. Micki McGee, a member of Cue-Up, said that permanent outdoor restaurant facilities would also create “a streetscape populated by restaurants that are no longer serving the neighborhoods but are serving as tourist attractions.”

Worse, Ms. Boyd said she was concerned that the city’s plan would drive out retailers. “The mom-and-pops that you love, the tailor shop or the vintage shop, they’re going to go, because the landlord is going to say ‘I can put a cafe in there, I can have the roadbed, increase the rent,’” Ms. Boyd said. “It’s going to kill small businesses.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Some Outdoor Dining Sheds Have Become a Rat's Paradise After Hours in New York City

The Inside Edition rat patrol is back! Some outdoor dining sheds have become a haven for furry vermin after hours at New York eateries. “This is a rat’s dream come true,” exterminator Paul Barletta tells Inside Edition.​


Outdoor dining has been a godsend to restaurants struggling during the coronavirus. But as it turns out, it’s also a great place for rats to live and multiply.
After hours at some New York City dining sheds, rats are having their own dinner parties. Inside Edition's rat patrol found the disease-carrying vermin in different parts of the city.

At Miriam, a popular eatery in Brooklyn, we spotted them scurrying all over the outdoor dining area in search of leftovers. Miriam did not respond to Inside Edition's requests for comment.
Stewart Waldman has lived in New York City for over 30 years and says he's never seen the problem as bad since the outdoor dining sheds went up.

“Do you think that these restaurant sheds have added to the number of rats in your neighborhood?” Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero asked Waldman.

“Without a doubt,” he said.
Our flashlights also caught rats running around the outdoor dining area at a pizza joint in midtown Manhattan. The manager at B Side Pizza said the rats didn't come out when the restaurant was open, but he acknowledged that they show up after the restaurant closed for the night.

“We do a thorough cleaning everyday before the shift and we have an exterminator that comes out every week,” the manager said.
But, of the restaurants we checked, nowhere was the problem worse than at Arriba, Arriba. Their tasty tacos are a New York favorite. And after hours — the rats agree.
But the restaurant says it is aware of the issue.
“We have recently taken the whole thing down and cleaned everything out and poured cement,” manager Brent Reil told Inside Edition. He says they're doing everything they can to get rid of the rats, which he calls a city-wide problem.
“All over the city it's happening,” Reil said.
Exterminator Paul Barletta of SWAT Pest Control in New Jersey says these types of outdoor dining areas are very conducive to attracting vermin, especially if trash is left in and around them overnight.


“This is a rat’s dream come true,” Barletta said.
And although it takes constant work, he says restaurant owners can keep rodents away with a vigilant pest control management program. The restaurants we spoke with say they use pest control companies to try to get rid of the rats.

 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Talk about getting dragged.


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Talk about takeout! Garbage truck hauls off outdoor dining shed in Greenwich Village — with person inside!​

Sacré bleu!
A garbage truck on Monday evening mistakenly scooped up an outdoor seating shed in front of a French restaurant in Greenwich Village — with a diner inside of it!
A Twitter user, Scootercaster (@ScooterCasterNY), posted a video from the scene, interviewing the restaurant’s manager, who confirmed that a garbage truck making a pickup had “dragged” the shed for about 10 feet and that a patron had been inside. The diner was unhurt, she said.

Adding to the chaos, coming up from their protest at Foley Square, a group of teachers and others who oppose being forced to get the coronavirus vaccine marched past the French eatery’s totaled shed while chanting slogans.
“Antimandates March just went by a crime scene,” Scootercater tweeted. “A sanitation truck attempting to pick up garbage picked up and dragged an outdoor dining structure while someone was inside. Incident occurred at West 13th and 6th Avenue. The diner was uninjured but shaken.”
“It was shocking, definitely felt like an earthquake almost,” the bistro manager said of the frightening incident. “I was worried for the safety of our customers and everyone involved.”

She said she was disappointed to hear that Bar Six would have to handle the cleanup of the wreckage and that the city would not help out.
“The police came out to inspect it [and file a report]…but then it’s our responsibility apparently to clean up the mess,” she said. “I think the city should definitely get involved and be responsible for helping us to clean up the street.”
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David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
On a Thursday evening at 6:30PM 3 days from May, on and around Thompson Street by Bleecker/West 3rd. A fraction of the totally empty dining sheds littering the area. Also many with one table being used. In total I saw about 20-25 seats being used out of hundreds. IMG_20220428_193906_536_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_517_copy_576x576.jpg PXL_20220428_220832741_copy_1632x1228.jpg PXL_20220428_220859015_copy_1632x1228.jpg PXL_20220428_221036585_copy_1632x1228.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_675_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_662_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_651_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_628_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_619_copy_576x576.jpg
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
(continued) IMG_20220428_193906_597_copy_576x576.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_569_copy_576x576.jpg PXL_20220428_220523957_copy_1632x1228.jpg IMG_20220428_193906_556_copy_576x576.jpg PXL_20220428_220359528_copy_1632x1228.jpg PXL_20220428_220418658_copy_1632x1228.jpg
 

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David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
I think this is the first "Coop quality of life vs dining sheds" lawsuit.

Billionaires’ Row landlord fed up with outdoor dining​

Drunk diners, ugly signs have turned West 57th Street into “three-ring circus”: lawsuit​

Some landlords have embraced outdoor dining to save their struggling tenants, but one Billionaires’ Row building owner is decidedly not a fan.​

The restaurants renting space at the Osborne have turned the landmarked apartment building into a “three-ring circus,” the owner declares in a lawsuit.

The Open Restaurants program, which oversees New York City’s outdoor dining situation, provided a pandemic lifeline to as many as 12,500 restaurants, and the landlords — including many co-ops — who rely on their rent. Embraced by many New Yorkers but despised by others, the program was made permanent in February.
That left lawsuits as the only option for opponents, among them the Osborne Tenants Corporation, which owns the apartment building at 205 West 57th Street, just south of Central Park. Streeteasy describes the 19th century building as “a kind of Dakota across the street from Carnegie Hall.”

Complicating matters, the residents lease their building’s commercial space not to the restaurants directly but to 57th and 7th Associates, a commercial tenant since 1962, which subleases to seven retailers. The owners have raised a number of complaints, but it’s the outdoor dining that irks them the most.
Last month they went so far as to demand 57th and 7th dismantle the outdoor seating and “unauthorized signage” or risk termination of the lease. That set off a Russian nesting doll of litigation.
The middleman served similar notices to its subtenants, asking them to remove the street seating and signage lest their leases be ripped up.
At the same time, 57th and 7th Associates sued Osborne Tenants, calling its demands “ambiguous.” Then two restaurants and a pizza place — Carnegie Diner, P.J. Carney’s, and Pizza and Shakes — served up lawsuits to both landlords.

In court, Judge Andrew Borrok extended some sympathy to 57th and 7th for “being the ham between two slices of bread” and trying to placate Osborne Tenants and the subtenants.
Joseph Goldsmith, a partner at Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, which represents Carnegie Diner and Pizza and Shakes, called the situation “an internal dispute” between the owner and its tenant “over the amount of rent that is paid, while the restaurants are trapped in the middle.”
The triangular litigation comes at a time when New York’s restaurants are still struggling. Osborne Tenants had been “extraordinarily sensitive” to their plight, its attorney, Steven Sladkus, testified this week when his legal team and lawyers for 57th and 7th met in court.

However, he said the Dos Equis umbrellas, neon signs and inebriated patrons sleeping on the sidewalk detracted from the beauty of the building, where Leonard Bernstein and Bobby Short once lived.

While restaurateurs await regulations from the Department of Transportation for the ubiquitous sidewalk structures, they are bound by few rules.
Since September, the Osborne’s address has been the subject of at least 30 complaints to 311 relating to outdoor dining or sidewalk issues.

“If the restaurants are unable to have signs informing customers that the businesses are open and what is being sold, or unable to have outdoor seating in accordance with Open Restaurants program, it is not known how these businesses can survive,” said Goldsmith, their lawyer.
Carnegie Diner removed its outdoor seating on West 57th Street but it and P.J. Carney’s maintained their outdoor structures on 7th Avenue.
Manhattan Community Board 5, which covers Midtown including the Osborne, supports the program but recommended stringent guidelines if the originally temporary program is to be permanent.
“CB5 would like outdoor dining structures to be integrated into the streetscape aesthetically and organically, instead of isolating diners from the space around them as has been observed in the emergency period,” the board recommended.

In addition to requesting that the restaurants remove their sidewalk seating, Osborne Tenants also asked several retailers to remove signs, even though some reportedly date from the 1960s. The signs “impair the reputation of the building,” according to Osborne Tenants’ notice to P.J. Carney’s.
One of the signs, which included a poster advertising happy hour at Carnegie Diner, was removed. The shoe repair store removed its “expert shoe repair” neon sign, but P.J. Carney’s has not removed its neon signs that say “Pub,” “Bass,” and “Est. 1927.”
“Some of this stuff has been up on the building for decades,” said Heath Kushnick, attorney for 57th and 7th, according to testimony. “The P.J. Carney’s has been there for decades, and now suddenly they are saying that has to be taken down.”

The owner’s lawyers called that “of no consequence.”
Attorneys for 57th and 7th Associates and P.J. Carney’s declined to comment on the lawsuits. Osborne Tenants’ lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

The Final Days of New York’s ‘Wild West’ Outdoor Dining Scene​

The pandemic prompted New York restaurants to create many different kinds of outdoor dining setups. Some have aged better than others.
The city has removed dozens of dining sheds and is considering more regulations for those that remain.

It was 8:15 p.m. on a steamy Saturday night on the Lower East Side, and every table on Canal Street outside of Clandestino was occupied and buzzing.
The roadway tables next door at Le Dive were full as well, and at Cervo’s, down the street, and at Dimes, up the block. Laughter, chatter and the sound of clinking dishes hung in the air.
But just around the corner on Ludlow Street, tenants in upstairs windows were filming neighborhood scenes and posting them on Twitter, where they described the street as “trashed” and the patrons as having “zero regard for the neighborhood” — and blaming a mayor who, one resident wrote, “prioritizes nightlife over communities.”

More than two years after the necessities of the pandemic ushered in a new era of outdoor dining in New York City, what seemed to be a once-in-a-generation chance to change the streetscape has reached a pivotal moment.

What was once temporary is becoming permanent: restaurant seating both on sidewalks and in the roadways by the curb. In mid-August, Mayor Eric Adams announced that while abandoned dining sheds would be destroyed, outdoor dining was “here to stay.”
But as the summer winds down, the city faces decisions about what having dinner outside will look like going forward — a debate that raises larger questions about how New York should use its precious public space, and whose needs it should serve.

The dense number of restaurants on the Lower East Side have created large seating areas on the street. Some residents say the noise is unbearable and the neighborhood is being “trashed.”

Some New Yorkers are suing the city, claiming that the program has affected their safety and ruined their quality of life, pitting neighborhood residents against the small businesses that help make those neighborhoods special, and make New York a magnet for visitors.

While the Department of Transportation issued temporary guidelines for restaurants in 2020, the Adams administration has not yet dictated specific standards that businesses must follow for their outdoor dining operations going forward. According to the mayor, the planning of the new, permanent program — including the development of regulations that might help ease some of the problems neighbors have — is being slowed by litigation.

The new guidelines could cover design, pest control and public health. While the emergency of the pandemic allowed restaurants to use sidewalks and roadways, expect changes next year: Much like obtaining a sidewalk cafe license, restaurants will have to submit an application and pay a fee to seat guests outside on public property.
In addition, a new task force will address quality of life issues in the program, which the city calls Open Restaurants.

Many of the dining sheds cobbled together by restaurants over the last couple of years are now dilapidated and weather-beaten. Some are covered in graffiti or have exposed extension cords hanging overhead.

And while other dining sheds have been transformed and upgraded to become sturdy, impressive, year-round structures that replicate indoor spaces, with speakers for music and heaters, they often block access to the curb for pedestrians, taxis and emergency vehicles.
Some residents argue that the city should just put an end to this type of outdoor dining.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say they are being adversely affected by the Open Restaurants program. The emergency conditions created by the coronavirus have waned, the lawsuit argues, but the dining sheds remain, bringing noise, sanitation problems and an increase in rats.

I understood the necessity of something like that at the height of the pandemic,” said Tanya Bonner, a plaintiff who lives in Washington Heights. “But that’s not where we are right now.”

Ms. Bonner said outdoor dining had contributed to unbearable noise in Washington Heights and nearby Inwood. “I think that the word is out that you can just come up here and just do whatever — a free for all.”
Ms. Bonner, who is a professor in the communications department at St. John’s University, is also the co-founder and chair of the WaHi-Inwood Task Force on Noise. She grew up in Chicago and has lived in New York for 17 years, “So I am not wimpy when it comes to living in a city,” she said.
“But what I do expect, and the way I was raised, even in a big city, is to be respectful of your neighbors — and be respectful of your community. Because a healthy community is a thriving community.”

He said that because so many restaurants have set up dining areas along the curb, he can’t find a parking space close to home — or close to the grocery store. “Give us our street back,” he pleaded, bemoaning the problems the program has created for “seniors that can’t walk.”

In addition, Mr. Camacho is concerned that when it comes to outdoor dining, “There is no enforcement mechanism. There’s no quality of life mechanism. There’s no one supervising and making sure that things are going right and correct.”

Meera Joshi, the city’s deputy mayor of operations, recently announced the creation of a task force to address quality of life issues associated with Open Restaurants. The effort will be a collaboration between the Department of Transportation, the Department of Sanitation and the Parks Department, with assistance from the Police Department.

As of Sept. 2, the task force had already removed 55 sheds that were either abandoned or in violation of guidelines.
During the darkest months of the pandemic, outdoor dining was a lifeline that kept many restaurants from shutting down. But now it means increased capacity — and a boost in business.
Jeff Kadish, the founding partner of Bottom Line Hospitality and an operating partner of Bodega 88, a Latin-themed sports bar and restaurant on the Upper West Side, said that when the pandemic hit, being able to expand saved the restaurant.

Outdoor dining was a lifeline that kept many restaurants from shutting down. Now it means increased capacity — and a boost in business.

The bar added more sidewalk seating and created a dining area on Columbus Avenue. “It’s Covid, Wild West, you’re allowed to use the roadway, go for it,” he said.

Mr. Kadish said that Bodega 88’s outdoor seating had benefits for both diners and staff, and he pointed out that the restaurant wound up employing more people because of increased capacity for guests.

But upstairs from Bodega 88, Michael Kenna and all of his neighbors in his co-op building spent upward of $20,000 on noise-reducing windows.
Mr. Kenna, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the bar had actually tripled its capacity and was known for drawing a crowd on the sidewalk and in the street on Columbus Avenue. When it comes to road noise or conversations — “you get used to that stuff,” he said. But the bar’s outdoor speakers? “Hearing the thumpa, thumpa, thumpa of music until midnight every night — and my bedroom is right there — is maddening,” he said.

Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said that even people who support the Open Restaurants program are aware that there are issues that need to be addressed.
Mr. Rigie is working with the task force assembled by City Hall, and noted that there are some legal and zoning changes that need to take place before the permanent version of Open Restaurants goes into effect.
The result is that eating outside in New York in 2023 probably won’t look exactly like it does now, Mr. Rigie said. He said the hospitality alliance would like to see the city approve multiple versions of outdoor dining setups that all have more standardized looks, with specific requirements for building materials. “We’re talking about outdoor dining, not recreating indoor dining outside.”
In addition, New York may see fewer restaurants opting for curbside dining in the future, once there is a formal application process — along with fees — in place.

In the meantime, people will continue to relish the opportunity to sit outside for dinner and entertainment, where New York is the show.

The city has assembled a task force to address quality of life issues associated with Open Restaurants. As a result, eating outside in 2023 probably won’t look exactly like it does now, according to one hospitality executive.

In Bushwick at the intersection of Wyckoff Avenue and Troutman Street on a recent Saturday night, throngs of people were gathered, some waiting for gorditas from a brightly lit taco truck, some sitting at tables in the street, some clumped in a line waiting to get into the venue Lot 45.
It was Davin Hazard’s first time in Bushwick and she was sitting at the nearby restaurant Sea Wolf with a friend, and Arthur, a French bulldog they were dog-sitting.

“The opportunity to get fresh air, to people-watch on the sidewalk, is an incredible thing,” Ms. Hazard, 29, said as she took in the animated, bustling scene. “And I think it feels like a very true New York experience.”
She was sympathetic to Bushwick residents like Mr. Camacho she said, but she had actively sought out a restaurant where she could bring a dog and dine outside. “This can be a compromise, right?”
Back on the Lower East Side, Bonnie Turtur, 37, was sitting by herself at a table outside of Dimes. Her husband had just left the restaurant with their child: “Our baby was throwing a tantrum,” she said.

When informed that people whose apartments overlook the restaurant were suing the city over noise, garbage and rats, Ms. Turtur paused for a moment. “I understand. If I lived upstairs, I’d probably be … I might be complaining.” Did the block where Ms. Turtur currently resides in SoHo have any dining sheds?
“No,” she said, “which is nice.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member


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A dining shed on First Avenue in the East Village. (Photo by The Village Sun)


Hochul agrees dining sheds no longer needed for COVID, leaving Adams ‘on his own to defend failed program’​


Governor Hochul has shed the sheds.
On Friday, the New York State Attorney General’s Office requested, and the plaintiffs agreed, to remove the state as defendants in their lawsuit against the temporary Open Restaurants program.

Basically, the governor agreed to stop issuing a monthly executive order declaring “A Disaster Emergency in the State of New York.” Her last such executive order expired Sept. 12.
“This is a major victory,” said Michael H. Sussman, the plaintiffs’ attorney. “The bloom is off the rose. Rather than extending a baseless emergency order and thereby justifying programs adopted during the pandemic out of a need to respond to a health emergency, Governor Hochul has properly refused to extend such an emergency order any further.”

In the agreement between Sussman and the state Attorney General’s Office, the state stipulated that COVID-related emergency executive powers had not been renewed by the governor on Sept. 14, signaling the end of the need for any pandemic-related emergency orders.

Per a press release from CUEUP (Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy), the state’s stipulation has made Mayor Adams’s continued use of such orders “indefensible,” and also leaves the mayor and his administration “on their own to defend the quality-of-life disaster that the temporary Open Restaurants program has delivered.”
“This means that emergency measures authorized and justified by that repeatedly-extended order must now be dismantled,” attorney Sussman said, “including, prominently, the city’s temporary Open Restaurants program, which has brought profound dislocation and inconvenience to many city residents.”
The lawsuit — filed on July 29 by three dozen residents from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx — challenged Hochul’s and Adams’s renewal of COVID-related emergency executive orders. Adams has relied on emergency powers to continue the city’s temporary Open Restaurants, even as other COVID-related emergency programs have been discontinued.
The plaintiffs argue that the mayor’s renewal of emergency orders every five days constitutes “blatant government overreach and provides a giveaway to the hospitality industry at the expense of public health and safety in neighborhoods across the city.”
The plaintiffs charge that the city must first do a proper environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act for the sweeping, citywide program. There have been two lawsuits filed so far, with some overlapping plaintiffs and Sussman as attorney on both suits.
Lorcan and Genie Otway chatting with customers who are friends at the dining shed outside their William Barnacle Tavern on St. Mark’s Place. The Otways say the dining sheds are a critical revenue source for operators. (The Village Sun file photo)
In March, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, stating in his written decision, “The programs have, at a minimum, impacted traffic and noise levels, and may have significantly impacted sanitation. Petitioners cite the increase in noise complaints in locations where the program has been implemented as further evidence of the environmental impacts. Consequently, these impacts may be significant, and therefore the environmental impact studies and public comment are required under SEQRA.”
However, as the city currently appeals that decision, the more than 12,000 dining sheds — to the chagrin of many local residents — still sit on the streets, with the highest numbers in Downtown Manhattan’s Community Boards 1, 2 and 3.
But shed opponents are no longer just waiting for an environmental review and for the court appeal process to play out at this point. In July, Sussman filed a second lawsuit, seeking to end the ongoing renewals of the emergency executive orders that authorize the city’s temporary Open Restaurants program — and to end the scheme’s operation immediately.

“The mayor needs to suspend that program now and admit that it is without legal sanction,” Sussman declared. “The city needs then to employ SEQRA appropriately, and solicit broad input from all stakeholders in designing a permanent outdoor restaurant program which respects residents and neighborhoods.”
However, Charles Lutvak, the mayor’s deputy press secretary, told The Village Sun that, as far as the city is concerned, Hochul’s having declined to renew the executive order doesn’t change anything.
“The expiration of the governor’s emergency order will not affect the Open Restaurants program or any other emergency executive order issued by the city,” he said.
Yet Cheri Leon, a Greenwich Village resident and member of CUEUP, told The Village Sun that the feeling is the governor’s monthly “disaster emergency” executive order helped Adams justify continuing Open Restaurants.

“In our opinion, it was giving cover to the city — but it’s gone now,” she said. “They just don’t have that added weight of the governor behind them anymore.”
Leon said that, if the city wants to cede public street space for new purposes — such as dining sheds, parklets, bike racks or anything else — then there should be a real, public process and a full-fledged discussion.

“Just giving it to the restaurant industry doesn’t seem like a very fair or sustainable use of curbside space,” she said.
Leon said that she, personally, would support a discussion on modifying the city’s sidewalk cafe program as an alternative to continuing the roadway dining sheds.
Lola Taverna, a Greek restaurant at Prince and MacDougal Streets, had set up a roadway dining shed in a turning lane, above, which the city finally forced it to dismantle. (Photo by Cheri Leon)
As an example of what she called the “lawlessness” of the Open Restaurants program, Leon noted that the city’s Department of Transportation finally recently did enforcement against Lola Taverna for its dining shed that was plopped illegally right in a turning lane at Prince and Houston Streets. However, Leon said, after the shed was dismantled, the eatery’s owner simply responded by brazenly adding more tables and chairs on the sidewalk around the place, narrowing the pavement passageway for pedestrians below the required 8-foot width.
 
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