Most of us can agree that outdoor dining has transformed New York for the better.
All you have to do is walk through a neighborhood like the Meatpacking District to see its impact: our city’s streets have become lively and people-friendly — creating community for locals and appealing to tourists — all while supporting beloved restaurants with new opportunities to engage with their customers.
One of the few positive things that came out of the pandemic was an increased desire – and need – to spend time outdoors. New Yorkers have developed a newfound love affair with the public realm: from more emphasis on pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and cycling to more street fairs and activations in public spaces and, of course, the proliferation of outdoor dining in every borough that’s replaced inanimate parked cars with bustling cafes and restaurants.
City leaders clearly understand the economic importance and consumer-driven popularity of the program, which is why they voted overwhelmingly to make it permanent, albeit on a seasonal basis.
But now, what comes next?