A woman was hospitalized after a hit-and-run driver rammed into an outdoor dining area in Greenpoint on Thursday — the second time this week that an out-of-control motorist has crashed into a restaurant's outdoor space.
The incident happened just before noon outside Cafe Alula on Franklin Street. Security footage shared with Gothamist shows a vehicle slamming into the wooden planters used as a perimeter by the cafe, propelling them into multiple patrons who were sitting outside. The driver then flees the scene, as someone shouts, "What the fuck?"
A 33-year-old woman was hospitalized after suffering pain on the right side of her body, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The driver remains at large.
Ladia Guerra, a barista at Cafe Alula who witnessed the hit-and-run, said she was shocked by the speed of the incident. "The car took off right away," she told Gothamist, adding that she'd received confirmation that the woman was not seriously injured.
Though some of the restaurant's wooden planters were damaged in the crash, the outdoor area is once again open, Guerra said.
The crash marks at least the fifth time that a driver has rammed into an outdoor dining area since June, when Mayor Bill de Blasio allowed restaurants to set up seating on streets and sidewalks to offset some of their financial losses of the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the driver of a Cadillac Escalade careened into the canopied area in front of Delizia 92 on the Upper East Side, injuring three people. Last month, a truck driver in Sunset Park injured three people in Sunset Park outside L'Wren bar.
Data from the city shows there are nearly 10,000 establishments across the city participating in the Open Restaurants Plan, with just under 1,000 solely based in the roadway. Another 3,276 restaurants are using the sidewalk, while 5,473 are using both sidewalks and roadways.
Transit advocates have called on the city to vastly expand its Open Streets plan on blocks where restaurants are taking advantage of outdoor seating. Meanwhile, more than 100 NYC restaurants are planning a class-action lawsuit demanding the city and state allow for the return of indoor dining.
Mayor de Blasio has said there's no plans to bring back indoor dining in the immediate future. But he indicated on Thursday that he would be open to the idea of extending the outdoor dining program, which is currently set to expire at the end of October.