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NYC Reignites Plans to Legalize Propane Heaters for Outdoor Dining

Plus, the Bronx Night Market puts an opening date on the calendar — and more intel

An unlit propane heater standing outside on a street sidewalk with restaurant tables and chairs in the background.
The legal battle over propane heaters rages on.
Climber 1959/Shutterstock

Restaurants may get another shot at using propane heaters this winter, even if some of their dining structures may be on the way out. Council members Keith Powers and Marjorie Velázquez introduced a bill on Thursday that would amend the New York City Fire Code to allow restaurants and bars to use portable gas-fueled devices to heat their outdoor setups. The New York Post first reported news of the legislation.

Powers, who represents areas of Manhattan including the Upper East Side, Times Square, and Koreatown, introduced a similar bill to City Council in late November, which drew support from then-mayor-elect Eric Adams. Like before, the latest propane heater legislation is intended to help restaurants stay afloat through the winter.

Restaurants were first allowed to use propane heaters as an emergency measure for outdoor dining in 2020, while indoor dining was banned amid the ongoing pandemic. In October, former Mayor Bill de Blasio reinstated the ban on propane heaters for outdoor dining, citing fire safety concerns. (No fires have been reported from propane heaters since the start of the program.) Natural gas and electric heaters are still allowed under the NYC Fire Code.

Mask confusion reins in New York City

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state’s mask-or-vaccine requirement would come to an end for businesses across the state earlier this week. In the five boroughs — where full vaccination is still required to enter many public indoor settings, but masks are now optional unless business owners say otherwise — there’s no shortage of confusion. According to the New York Post, a number of food workers, including at Starbucks and Whole Foods stores in Manhattan and Queens, say they had not been notified of the change, which went into effect on February 10.

The Bronx Night Market, now monthly, returns in April

The Bronx Night Market has an opening date on the calendar. The all-day food festival, with vendors who serve food from more than 40 cuisines, will return to Fordham Plaza on April 30. In past years, the night market operated once weekly on Saturdays, but its producers are pivoting to larger, monthly events for their fourth season. The event will now take place every last Saturday of the month, from 1 to 8 p.m., through November.

A “monument to fresh pasta” on West Houston Street

The New York Times steps inside Raffetto’s this week, a “monument to fresh pasta” that has operated in Greenwich Village for over a century. The shop’s pasta is available from wooden drawers (dried), refrigerators (fresh, and prepared at the company’s factory in New Jersey), or cut to a customer’s liking at the shop. “That store should be a designated landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site,” says Beatrice Tosti di Valminuta, owner of Il Posto Accanto, one of more than 200 businesses in the tri-state area that source their pasta from Raffetto’s.