Watch CBS News

In midst of lawsuit against city, some New Yorkers say they need to see new rules on outdoor dining

Some NYC residents sat outdoor dining needs more enforcement
Some NYC residents sat outdoor dining needs more enforcement 02:28

NEW YORK -- The city says 100,000 jobs were saved thanks to outdoor dining during the pandemic.

But now, some living near restaurants say all of those dining sheds and sidewalk tables need an upgrade, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Monday.

Outdoor dining sheds were once the solution for restaurants and people going stir crazy at home.

"It help us a lot, otherwise we couldn't make it," said Guray Yuksel, co-owner of Bella Luna.

"During the pandemic, it was appreciated, but now not so much," added Manisha Patel of Midtown.

They are a nuisance to some who cite safety and quality-of-life concerns.

READ MOREMayor Adams: Abandoned, unsightly outdoor dining sheds will be torn down

Upper West Side resident Michael Kenna took cellphone video of the noise outside his bedroom window. His building had to install special windows as a result. He's one of several suing the city over the open restaurants program.

"I'm not against outdoor dining at all," Kenna said. "But there's just no rules."

Kenna said the lawsuit came after reaching out to multiple agencies and feeling like there was no enforcement.

"Unfortunately, it seemed like the only way to get any attention," Kenna said.

Last month, Mayor Eric Adams said outdoor dining was here to stay and announced a task force comprised of the departments of Transportation and Sanitation, and the NYPD, to address quality-of-life issues.

The DOT says so far 65 dining sheds that were either abandoned or non-compliant have been torn down. However, one in Hell's Kitchen has been sitting there for a few weeks.

The city says it's working to come up with a permanent open restaurants program.

"We'll listen to what the City Council does," Adams said.

READ MORELawsuit seeks to end New York City's outdoor dining program over excessive noise, garbage and rats

Andrew Rigie is executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

"This was June 2020, when these things were put up. Restaurants had no money. We were in the midst of crisis, so they weren't weatherized. The standards hadn't been fully thought through," Rigie said.

He says initial temporary guidelines were needed to accommodate everyone.

"Pre-pandemic, we had about 1,200 licensed sidewalk cafes. They were primarily in Manhattan. This emergency program allowed restaurants throughout the five boroughs, real small mom-and-pop-type places, to participate in outdoor dining," Rigie said.

He added he expects fewer restaurants to participate once there's an approval process and some fees.

READ MOREOutdoor dining in New Jersey to continue through at least November 2024

At Bella Luna on the Upper West Side, where they spent tens of thousands of dollars on two outdoor sheds, demand is still there.

"They still want to sit outside," Yuksel said.

Elsewhere, others agree.

"I've had a lot of extra facilities to bring my dogs at all times," said Alfred Pena of Long Island.

"It has created more of an ambiance in the city, but I think a lot could be done to upgrade them," added Isabelle Cox of Brooklyn.

Before they do that, restaurants are just waiting on the city to dish out the new rules.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.