The city put a kibosh on outdoor dining in roadways and curbside during the snowstorm starting yesterday at 2 p.m. But because the storm wasn't quite as bad as expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday morning that outdoor dining could resume immediately in Manhattan today. A few hours later, he announced that Open Restaurants "will reopen citywide" at 6 p.m. this evening.
But the hefty snowfall was not enough to deter some New Yorkers from braving the weather last night and attempting to dine outside—which was allowed, so long as they weren't blocking any roadways or sidewalks.
Terence Edgerson, who posted the photo above, said he passed by several people dining in the East Village. "I saw people dining on my way home from the grocery store and they looked comfortable," he told Gothamist. "Nothing stops New Yorkers, but I really think everyone should be home indoors and waitstaff should be paid so they don’t have to risk their lives and their health to make money. I just hope everyone is tipping generously and there’s another relief package with more than $600 in it."
The NY Post observed people dining at Fanelli’s Cafe in SoHo. And in one of the more wild videos from last night, there was this scene at Baby Brasa, on 7th Avenue S and Perry Street in the West Village, and Extra Virgin down the block.
A few restaurant owners posted staged videos and photos to make a point about the recent indoor dining shutdown and the pressures NYC restaurants are under.
Rocco Sacramone, who runs Trattoria L’incontro in Astoria, wrote on Instagram, "This is what outdoor dining looks like in MY CITY, love NY but what a mess we are in this was my staff today. We normally have 30 to 40. We are down to 5 this is real this is the reality of every restaurant in NYC."
“What a lovely night for outdoor dining!” wrote Patrizia’s in Kips Bay.
Special kudos should be given to the carts and trucks who stayed open last night during the storm as well.
During this morning's press conference, deputy mayor of operations Laura Anglin and Department of Sanitation acting commissioner Edward Grayson both noted that there had been no major reports of widespread damage to outdoor dining structures.
“We certainly will work with sanitation, DOT, and SBS to help any restaurants that need assistance there, but we do not think that there was a lot of widespread damage,” Anglin said. You can learn more about the city's pandemic snow removal guidelines here.
The city did not require restaurants to dismantle their outdoor structures before the storm if it wasn't possible, but they did ask them to regularly remove the snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends. And that went pretty well for some places:
Though it did not go as well at other places: