Mayor Adams vows to clean up NYC’s outdoor-dining scene

NYC Mayor Eric Adams. Photo profile picture on Twitter @NYCMayor

Mayor Eric Adams is promising New Yorkers that the city’s outdoor dining program is here to stay — it just needs to be cleaned up.

“As long as I have something to say about it, this initiative will be here, but we’re going to get it right,” Adams said at a Thursday August 18, 2022, press conference, in front of an abandoned dining shed in Manhattan. He called on the city’s residents to report any unused or unsafe outdoor dining sheds, because they “can’t be a safe haven for rats” or illegal behavior.

The city has dismantled at least two dozen sheds as part of its new enforcement initiative, and is targeting at least 37 others with “egregious violations” for hygiene or safety, according to a press release.

The Open Restaurants program has been a lifeline for New York’s restaurants throughout the pandemic, providing customers with alternatives to eating inside and sometimes increasing a restaurant’s footprint. The City Council is envisioning a permanent program that would expand sidewalk dining and allow businesses that previously participated to reapply for permits. More than 12,000 restaurants offer outdoor dining, according to city data.

But while a boon for restaurants, some residents have complained about trash, vermin, noise and fewer parking spaces as a result of the program.

“Unfortunately, there’s a minority who don’t like outdoor dining at all,” Adams said. “Their lawsuit against the city is slowing the process of making the program permanent. I want to say very clearly: As much as I can have a hand in it, outdoor dining is here to stay.”




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