Letter to Mayor Eric Adams: The Outdoor Dining Plan Needs to Change

The City Council has passed legislation (Intro 0031-2022, Version C) introduced "by request of the Mayor," that creates a new permanent outdoor dining program in New York City. In addition to allowing sidewalk cafés in all previously restricted neighborhoods, this program will allow seasonal* roadway dining and be administered by the Department of Transportation (NYC DOT).

While we supported the temporary Open Restaurants program, which helped restaurants survive the pandemic, we believe continuing this amenity in perpetuity would be a giveaway to the bar and restaurant lobby. This lobby seeks to exploit public space for private gain, at the expense of residents and other, non-alcohol-related small businesses.

There is a reason that the majority of New York City’s Community Boards (30 of 50 who weighed in) voted against the Zoning Text Amendment that lifted all locational restrictions on sidewalk cafés: Community Board members heard from residents about what was going on in their neighborhoods regarding the excessive noise, congestion, disorder, and dangers their communities have endured as a result of the temporary program.

Please write to Mayor Eric Adams to let him know that you oppose the current Permanent Open Restaurants plan. The laws and rules for NYC's outdoor dining program must address the noise, health, access, safety, and sanitation problems caused by this massively expanded program in order to mitigate the negative environmental and quality of life impacts brought about by the increased use of public space for restaurants and bars.

*seasonality only applies to roadway dining. Sidewalk cafés may operate year-round.