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New York City finalizes guidelines for Dining Out NYC, nation's largest permanent outdoor dining program

NYC finalizes outdoor dining program
NYC finalizes outdoor dining program 02:18

NEW YORK -- Outdoor dining in New York City is here to stay after Mayor Eric Adams and officials announced a major expansion of the nation's largest-outdoor dining program on Friday. 

From pandemic necessity, to permanent fixture. 

"It's nice being out and feeling the sun and the breeze and see what's going on in the city," one person said. 

"Love it," said another. "It's quieter. It's less crowded. So, yeah, you get better hang time with your friends."

City Hall heard the same. 

After what they called a "robust" public outreach campaign, the Adams administration announced Friday their final guidance for a permanent outdoor dining program called "Dining Out NYC." 

"Accessible, clean, safe, beautiful setups now that will transform the public landscape throughout the city," NYC Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu said. 

Rules for restaurants to follow include design requirements, preserving clear sidewalk paths, access to emergency roadway lanes, and easily movable furniture and coverings. It's part of a larger mission by Adams to "transform what it feels like to be outside in New York." 

The program is being expanded citywide, allowing year-round sidewalk dining. Restaurants can expand onto roads from April to December. 

The West Village hotspot 4 Charles Prime Rib has only nine tables. During the pandemic, partially by necessity, they built an outdoor structure that goes into the road and can nearly double the number of customers they can serve on any given night. 

"There will be no more hulking sheds or structures that almost look like little apartments down the street," Liu said. "So they have to modify and adjust their setups per these new regulations."

"It cost us $36,000 to put it up, and it would not cost as much to throw it away, but to rebuild it - I don't think you can re-use any of these materials," Dino Redzic said, who owns Uncle Paul's pizza in Midtown. "I think we will be all for it, to pay a fee to the city just to keep us doing it as we've been doing it."

The city says fees will vary by location and size of the structure. 

Starting in March, restaurants will be able to apply through the Department of Transportation. If approved, they'll then have 30 days to modify and meet regulations. 

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