December 14, 2022
by: Adam Roberts
Outdoor dining structure with lights at nighttime
Tacombi's outdoor dining structure on Broad Street. Photo: Billie Grace Ward via Wikimedia Commons.

Throughout 2022, New York City has debated how to make outdoor dining permanent. The city’s Open Restaurants program, which enables legal outdoor dining, is currently operating under an emergency order. Supporters of outdoor dining have sought to pass legislation to make the program permanent, though likely with fewer permanent structures than exist now.

A piece of legislation in the New York City Council, Int 31-2022, would establish a permanent Open Restaurants program. However, opponents of outdoor dining have pressured the council to amend the bill by transferring the program away from the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). Unlike DOT, DCWP lacks architects on staff and has no control over the city’s streets, adding prohibitive compliance challenges for architects and their clients. Over 200 AIANY members signed a letter opposing this effort to eliminate outdoor dining.

Meanwhile, opponents are also seeking to delay implementation of a permanent program by demanding further hearings in the city council, even though hearings were already held earlier in the year. In addition, opponents are suing the city to end the program entirely. So far, the city has proved victorious in court.

Currently, AIANY is partnering with several organizations in support of outdoor dining, including the Alfresco NYC coalition, Open Plans, and the NYC Hospitality Alliance. AIANY has long supported the Open Restaurants program and we will continue to fight for its continuation.


Policy Points:



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