Even before the recession started, West Eighth Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway was having serious troubles keeping tenants and the problem has only gotten worse. So now Community Board 2 is reportedly moving towards applying to change the city's Zoning Resolution in the area to allow outside seating at restaurants on the strip—an idea that you'll be SHOCKED to learn is not loved by neighbors, even though it could quite arguably help the block's businesses.
The important thing to note is that these wouldn't be huge seating areas. The proposal "would ask the city to allow restaurants within the designated area on Eighth Street and the east side of Sixth Avenue to set up a single row of outdoor tables with just two chairs each." Just enough to make the street seem lively and bring some fresh character to a once storied boulevard. In all it would allow roughly 22 restaurants to open sidewalk cafes, 15 of whom have reportedly expressed interest.
But of course, some NIMBY neighbors are not digging the idea, saying it will bring more noise to an already noisy area. "If the thought is that this will bring the Village liveliness, we don't need more liveliness," Village resident Constance Christopher said to DNAinfo.
No decision about the proposal, which is being pushed by the Village Alliance, will be made anytime soon. The Alliance says it won't move forward if there is "substantial community opposition" and in the meantime it will continue to be discussed by the CB2 Land Use committee. After that it will need to "be certified by the Department of City Planning, and reviewed and issued advisory votes by CB2 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. It would then be subject to approval by the City Planning Commission and City Council." But that's okay, outside of the present warm weather, nobody really needs/wants outdoor seating until the spring, anyway.