SCHUYLERVILLE, the Bronx (WABC) Outdoor dining will officially become a permanent fixture in New York City on Wednesday.As New York City has moved out from under its pandemic-era regulations, how to handle the new landscape of outdoor dining structures has been a growing question. While many still like the sheds and restaurants want to keep them, others say there is no longer a need for them. Some have raised concerns like increased noise and congestion, loss of street space, and argued that some are dilapidated, abandoned structures that are eyesores.City officials have now taken steps toward making outdoor dining a permanent part of the New York City streetscape, but with conditions. Earlier this month the New York City Council passed legislation that would create a system allowing businesses to set up dining sheds on city streets for April through November and to remove them in the winter months.
Some new rules will be in place when Mayor Eric Adams signs the outdoor dining bill into place.
The main difference is that, starting next year, those roadway sheds will eventually become seasonal. Dining establishments will only be allowed to keep them up from April to November.
Sidewalk cafes can stay up year round.
Officials say the permits will be less expensive and easier to obtain, but the Department of Transportation has the final say over what outdoor dining will really look like.
Outdoor dining was celebrated at the start of the pandemic, but has since become incredibly controversial.
“We’re OK with the ruling and we’re happy that New York is moving in a direction to be more European, where we have people sitting outside and it makes us feel a bit more lively than normally,”
Mathias Van Leyden, owner of LouLou bistro in Chelsea said. “For residents, it’s less curb space, less sidewalk space, less roadbed space, less space to get up and down the block, less quiet, less emergency access. It’s just less. It’s more for one industry, less for everybody else.”
Some city residents say these outdoor spaces do way more harm than good.
“They litter up the street so badly. They take away from the aesthetic of the street. They’re claustrophobic, they’re trash-magnets. They’re just awful,” Valarie Marrs said.
Many restaurants would have preferred to see street dining allowed permanently, but are glad to see it will still be possible for most of the year, said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade group for the city’s restaurants and nightlife venues.
“Of all the doom and gloom in the pandemic, one of the bright spots was outdoor dining,” he said. “By utilizing a little area in the roadway, you’re able to create a whole new experience for people that are going to dine out, people that are walking around.”
“I think it creates, when done properly, a much more livable, much more vibrant streetscape than simply keeping or using it just for parking,” Rigie said.
Restaurants will need to be in compliance by November of 2024.