Three people were injured after a driver crashed into an outdoor dining space on the Upper East Side on Monday night.
Police say the incident happened around 9:30 p.m. yesterday outside Delizia 92 on the southeast corner of E 92nd Street and 2nd Avenue. A driver in a Cadillac Escalade SUV heading east on the street collided with a southbound Audi SUV in the intersection. The Audi then careened into the restaurant's wooden outdoor dining setup, damaging a barrier and several canopy tents.
“All of a sudden this whole tenting started coming [down] like a row of dominoes,” Father George Baker, who had just finished dinner with a friend there, told the News. “I just grabbed her and we ran [into] this building entranceway.” He added that a group had been sitting near them but finished their meal and left minutes before the crash.
Three people were injured altogether, and one was taken with minor injuries to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Police add no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
There have been a number of incidents involving drivers smashing into outdoor seating areas throughout the city since the Outdoor Restaurants program started this summer. That includes an incident last month in which three people were injured when a truck driver ran into outdoor dining seating for L’Wren bar in Sunset Park.
According to the latest data from the city, there are currently 9,927 restaurants utilizing outdoor spaces around the five boroughs for dining; 911 of them are in roadways, 3,184 are on the sidewalk only, 5,526 are both in the roadway and on the sidewalk, and 306 of them are on Open Streets.
Last month, Transportation Alternatives released a report identifying some of the flaws with the city's Open Streets/Open Restaurants plan. Among their recommendations to improve the program was to put more Open Restaurant seating on the streets, not the sidewalks, and to close more of those streets to drivers.
Last week, the NYC Hospitality Alliance was joined by several restaurant owners at a press conference talking about how the survival of the entire industry is incumbent upon indoor dining restarting. They demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo come up with a plan for the return of indoor dining—or else potentially face a lawsuit. But the city and state have not budged on their stance so far, with Mayor de Blasio telling reporters this morning that indoor dining is just too high risk to allow for the foreseeable future.
"The evidence around the world is so consistent," de Blasio said of outbreaks in Hong Kong and Europe connected to the return of indoor dining. "We haven't been able to set a firm standard because we see a real problem and challenge here. And what we need to do first and foremost is focus on the the health and safety of New Yorkers and on bringing back our city smartly and not allowing the mistakes we've seen in so much of the rest of the country and the rest of the world."