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Friday’s Headlines: Outdoor Dining Funeral Train Edition

Outdoor dining dies a slow death in New York City. Plus more news.

12:01 AM EST on November 17, 2023

The Exley’s outdoor dining shed is popular even in the colder months. But it will have to come down in November 2024. Photo: The Exley

The long, slow death of New York City's pandemic-era outdoor dining program continues next week, when the city Department of Transportation hears public input on proposed rules for the next phase.

But the biggest questions for restaurant owners have already been answered before Monday's hearing, Erin Durkin wrote Thursday over at Hell Gate.

Durkin's reporting echoed much of what restaurant owners told Streetsblog in the lead-up and aftermath of program's passage by the City Council earlier this year: The Council's insistence on prohibiting outdoor dining in the roadway between December and March will be "hell" for them.

"Once it comes down, it’s down. There’s no way I can put it back up. I can’t afford to pay someone to take it down. I can’t afford to store it, and I certainly can’t afford to rebuild it every year," one Bed-Stuy food merchant told Durkin.

Restaurants who participated in the initial outdoor dining program may keep their roadway set-ups through next November, but many have already given up and taken them down — possibly in anticipation of the new rules.

"I voted for this mayor because he said he wanted to preserve outdoor dining," the owner of Manhattan's The Marshal told Durkin. "How am I supposed to vote next time?"

In other news:

  • Bring on the budget cuts — Adams makes a regular habit out of cutting service services. (Gothamist, The City)
  • NYC's plastic bag ban comes with few teeth, so far. (The City)
  • Crain's dives deep into why the New York region's airports are so terrible.
  • Service changes in Queens thanks to much-needed accessibility upgrades. (QNS)
  • We have a new "nightlife mayor" (and it's not the regular mayor). (NYDN)

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