NEW YORK -- It's a promise to clean up.
Mayor Eric Adams said outdoor dining sheds that are left abandoned or in bad shape will be torn down.
As CBS2's Kevin Rincon reports, there are more than 10,000 outdoor dining sheds throughout New York City. This week, two dozen of them will be torn down, including the worst of the worst.
"I have a New York nose. Listen, someone has used this as a urinal, because I can clearly smell it," Adams said.
The shed he was referring to is on 32nd Street and Fifth Avenue. It has been abandoned, and with trash and rodents, it has become an eyesore.
"It can't be a safe haven for rats. It can't be a safe haven for illegal behavior. It has to be a place to allow people to enjoy dining," Adams said.
As Adams symbolically took a sledgehammer to the shed, he reiterated the Open Restaurants program is here to stay. The mayor's office says 100,000 jobs were saved by outdoor dining during the pandemic.
Councilmember Marjorie Velazquez is among the city lawmakers pushing to make the program permanent, as long as it's done right.
"If it's abandoned, if it's posing a safety hazard, we are here, and we need to hear from you. And from there, we will work together with you to take it down," Velazquez said.
The mayor's office says anyone who sees an abandoned shed should call 311. The agency tasked with inspecting those structures has been the city's Department of Transportation, and it will be that agency that helps bring them down.
Watch Kevin Rincon's report
"DOT has done more than 60,000 inspections," said Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "If they're not in good condition to bring them back to use, if they don't, we take action immediately."
The city says the deserted sheds represent a "small minority" of the 13,000 participants in the Open Restaurants program. Adams promises that steps are being taken toward a permanent program to expand outdoor seating options for restaurants.
Joshua Lyttle, of Harlem, told CBS2's Thalia Perez he's looking forward to it.
"I think we need it. In Little Italy, it's beautiful. In places, you know, in Nolita, SoHo, these are things that, it's opening up New York City," he said.
He says neighbors should help in identifying deserted sheds.
"The ones that are not being used should be teared down," he said.
The mayor's office hasn't offered a timeline for when structures will be taken, but they say there are dozens of sheds on their list that could be demolished in the very near future.
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