Mayor Adams launches crackdown on NYC's abandoned outdoor dining sheds, but vows program 'here to stay' – New York Daily News

Mayor Adams took a sledgehammer to an abandoned outdoor dining shed on a Manhattan sidewalk Thursday and announced that his administration is launching a citywide crackdown on dilapidated al fresco structures, which have become eyesores in some neighborhoods.
Still, Adams stressed that the outdoor dining program — which has become exceedingly popular in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic — is going to keep cooking.
“Outdoor dining is here to stay, and we want to make sure we get it right,” the mayor told reporters before putting on a safety helmet and sledgehammering a wall of the defunct dining shed on 32nd Street near Fifth Avenue. “The dismantling of this abandoned shed is not a dismantling of what we believe is a successful program.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams takes a sledgehammer to abandoned outdoor dining shed in Manhattan, New York on Thursday, Aug 18, 2022. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)
The smashing of the 32nd Street shed, which used to belong to a beer garden, marked the 25th outdoor dining structure that the Adams administration has taken down this week, according to data provided by City Hall. Nine of the razed sheds were in Queens; six in Brooklyn; six in Manhattan, and three in the Bronx, the data showed.
Though 86% of New Yorkers support outdoor dining, according to a recent survey from the Regional Plan Association, a group of community leaders filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to scrap the program altogether, as first reported by the Daily News. The suit argued that outdoor dining has contributed to traffic congestion, noise, unsanitary conditions, vermin infestations and other quality of life issues.
NYC’s rat problem is getting worse as calls to cut back outdoor dining intensify ]
But Adams contended a few bad apples are to blame for such al fresco fiascos and that the program as a whole shouldn’t suffer as a result. Rather, he said the city should double down on targeting restaurant and bar owners who aren’t taking proper care of their operations.
“We have to do better to make sure structures like these are not existing in our communities,” he said. “When a dining shed is no longer in use, and it’s abandoned, it’s a safety hazard. We have to tear it down. It can’t be a safe haven for illegal behavior.”
Mayor Eric Adams announces a new, multiagency enforcement initiative focused on spotlighting open and active outdoor dining sheds in the city’s Open Restaurants program and removing abandoned sheds that were formerly part of restaurants that have now shut down. West 32nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. Thursday, August 18, 2022. Credit: . (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)
According to City Hall’s data, the city has 37 open summonses issued to hospitality establishments that could see their dining structures taken down unless they rectify violations flagged by inspectors.
Between January and June, the city received 2,076 outdoor dining-related complaints, the data shows. A majority of them — 1,308 — rolled in between April and June.
Among the recorded complaints are details about sheds being used for drug use or as homeless encampments, and Adams noted that the structure on 32nd Street had a peculiar stench to it.
“I have a New York nose and, listen, someone has used this as a urinal,” he said. “I can clearly smell it.”
An abandoned shed that was formerly part of restaurants that have now shut down on West 32nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan on Thursday, August 18, 2022. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)
The City Council voted in February to make the COVID era outdoor dining program a permanent fixture on the city’s streets. But the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit has slowed down the rollout of the program, Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi said.
“That has put a paralysis on our plans,” she said.
The lawsuit aside, some details about the permanent initiative remain up in the air, including whether shed structures should be allowed.
Adams, who’s known to enjoy late nights at restaurants and nightclubs, said he’s open to letting the sheds remain, but noted that such details are ultimately up to the Council.
“Listen, I am so low maintenance. I’m open,” he said. “Whatever way they come out, whatever decision is made, I’m open.”
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News


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