Too bad the New York Times didn't have this fact to put into their premature yet still fun chart comparing last summer to this summer (our main beef, aside from the summer being halfway done, is that there was no Republican National Convention at the end of the last summer): The City's new zoning laws are allowing restaurants to create sidewalks seat (previously not allowed), with a quarter of the new seats for smokers. Also, the city is reducing the amount of time a restaurant has to wait for a permit from 15 months to just 2. Gothamist is happy that some smokers will be accomodated, but we hope they'll be eating more than smoking, unless they are models pretending to eat.
Areas that are now cafe-friendly:
- A 100-block section of midtown (except for areas around Times Square and Grand Central, because pedestrian traffic is so high)
- Most of Madison and parts of Park and Lexington Avenues, north of 59th St.
- 23rd Street between the East River to Eighth Avenue
- 14th Street between Second and Eighth Avenues
- First Ave. between 48th and 54th Streets
- Orchard and Delancey Streets
Interesting facts about sidewalk seating: They cannot take up more than 4.5' of sidewalk (we're guessing from restaurant's facade) and restaurants cannot create barriers around them.
Time Out NY on some good outdoor eating areas and NY magazine said the sidewalk dining last year was NY Dosas in the Washington Square area. And if you'd like a great view, from the inside, here are some restaurants with a view.