Mayor said Outdoor Dining, with Adjustments, will Remain in NYC “Long-Term”
By Yehudit Garmaise
Community Board 12, last week voted not to approve the text amendment that would allow zoning changes to make Open Restaurants permanent, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning that Outdoor Dining, which he said had “a miraculous impact on the city,”will likely be a part of the New York City landscape, “long-term.”
The mayor pointed out that Open Restaurants, an innovation of the pandemic, initially saved the jobs of 100,000 New Yorkers, the program “has helped to save many [jobs] more since.”
But last Tuesday, when the members of Community Board 12 discussed Open Restaurants in Brooklyn, residents felt the program attracted bad actors to the neighborhood, the homeless to encamp in the structures, and the takeover of precious parking and sidewalk space for pedestrians and strollers.
“When we create a law for the whole city, [that law] is for everyone,” the mayor told BoroPark24 this morning at his press conference. “We will treat every community equally, but what we can do, and it is important to do, is to listen to community concerns and make adjustments.”
While the mayor did not at all address Brooklynites’ complaints of bad actors and homeless encampments in the outdoor structures, he did acknowledge that restaurants’ takeover of sidewalk space “is a great point.”
“There are really clear rules,” the mayor said of Open Restaurants. “If restaurants takes up too much space, we have to fix that, and we have to hold them accountable.”
When restaurants briefly shut down their outdoor dining, for instance, they must dismantle their outdoor structures.
“If restaurants are not going to revive those spaces and use them, they should give it up, and we have to be very good about enforcing that.
“If restaurants are not going to use their [outdoor] spaces, they have to liberate those spaces, so other people can use them.”
Outdoor Dining, the mayor said, “has been [a huge] part of the comeback of the city. It has created life and energy. We need to keep it long term.
“But let’s make the adjustments case by case to make it work best for communities. That is the way to approach it.”