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Outdoor Dining

Thursday’s Headlines: Outdoor Dining is Fun Edition

12:03 AM EDT on October 6, 2022

If outdoor dining had been a thing back in the sad 1940s, maybe Edward Hopper’s classic painting, “Nighthawks,” would have turned out different. Photo: The Streetsblog Photoshop Desk

The big news on Wednesday was an incremental piece of small news: the state's Appellate Division threw out a lawsuit by opponents of outdoor dining on strictly procedural grounds (namely, you can't sue over a government program that hasn't officially started yet).

Edward Hopper's original, "Nighthawks." Photo: Wikipedia
Edward Hopper's original, "Nighthawks." Click to enlarge. Photo: Wikipedia

This is good news for all of us who love outdoor dining — though want it to be properly regulated by the city and paid for by the restaurants, all of which is part of a piece of legislation that is moving ever so slowly through the City Council meat grinder (how much of a meat grinder? Well, even the Speaker doesn't always stay on the talking points!).

Everyone covered the ruling — with obvious reminder that opponents of outdoor dining will certainly refile a suit once the temporary Covid-era dining program becomes permanent:

    • The Village Sun was first, thanks to Lincoln Anderson's old-fashioned reporter's obsession with the legal underpinnings of the case.
    • Streetsblog quickly followed once we got a hold of the ruling.
    • amNY may have overstated the significance of the ruling.
    • NY1 also may have overstated that the ruling clears the way for the Council legislation to move forward. It's unclear if the litigation or simply political cowardice has been stalling the legislation.
    • Gothamist had a weird headline on an otherwise straight story.

No matter what spin the outlets put on it, outdoor dining is here to stay for a while, which made our graphics team so excited that they reimagined what Edward Hopper's classic painting, "Nighthawks," might have looked like if alfresco eating had been a thing in the 1940s. Why sit inside all lonely? Why not grab a table on the curb?

In other news from a slow, Yom Kippur:

    • Man, New Jersey just won't let congestion pricing be! (NYDN)
    • We were happy to see that Curbed got around to covering what we've been obsessed with for years: The SUV-ification of the police squad car. Alyssa Walker graciously linked to some of our past coverage, but missed our big "get," when then-Transportation Bureau Chief William Morris defended handing cops yet another deadly weapon. That legacy, alas, lives on in a department with literally no oversight.

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