NYC will be shutting down some city streets to use as dining space on the weekends starting today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. The initiative is an expansion of the city’s ongoing Open Streets program, where over 60 miles of streets across all five boroughs have been shut down to car traffic this summer.
According to the mayor, 22 streets have been identified to shut down for outdoor dining this weekend, including stretches of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Doyers Street in Chinatown, Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, and Reed Street in Red Hook. Restaurants along these streets will be able to set up tables and chairs on the pavement on Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. throughout July and August.
The city previously said that restaurants would be able to use open street space in this way when the mayor first announced outdoor dining plans in late June.
The initial launch includes 2.6 miles of streets. The mayor says that more streets have been identified and will be continually added to the program, including Dyckman Street in Northern Manhattan. The city later confirmed that 10 to 20 more streets will be blocked off for outdoor dining starting on Friday, July 17.
“We’re taking a tough situation and turning it into something good,” the mayor said at a press conference announcing the news. Yesterday, both the governor and the mayor announced that NYC would not be allowed to start indoor dining as part of the the city’s phase three reopening plan starting next week due to alarming COVID-19 spikes in other states. Indoor dining in the city has now been put on hold indefinitely.
According to NYC’s Department of Transportation, over 6,800 restaurants have applied and been certified to offer outdoor dining throughout the city. Until now, outdoor dining has been limited to sidewalk seating, backyard patios, and tables and chairs set up in curbside parking spaces in front of restaurants.
Update, 12:27 p.m.: This story has been updated with further information from the mayor’s office, including the full list of 22 streets approved for outdoor dining starting this weekend.