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Park Slope 'Street Seats' An Urban Oasis For Some, A Nuisance For Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's public seating in a most unusual place -- the street.

While some people love it, others said they're losing more than they're gaining.

Street seats were designed to be a temporary oasis in the urban jungle -- vibrant public places for people to socialize and enjoy.

As CBS2's Scott Rapoport reported, they were installed as part of a citywide program that started in 2015.

Businesses or community organizations who own property in front of their building -- like Sky Ice restaurant in Park Slope -- can install the seasonal respite for the general public. It's part of a joint effort with the New York City Department of Transportation.

"You can escape into this little space and be surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers," Jonathan Bayer explained.

So far, there are 14 of the spots in New York City. In some cases they take up residence where several parking spaces used to be -- that's the rub.

Blue Marble Ice Cream Shop in Prospect Heights is applying for a permit to put street seats right in front of their store. There's a proposed rendering in the window, and a petition for support inside.

A group of residents in the neighborhood is opposing the plan, saying it would take up valuable, highly in demand parking space and cause congestion headaches.

"We're losing a lot of the street parking already because of the CitiBikes," Kimtoya Williams said.

"It's very detrimental to the community and I think it's a public safety problem too," Brooks White added.

Street Seats aren't permanent -- they're in place from March through December before being taken down for two months.

Proposals for them must be approved by a community board which considers the question of -- among other things -- public space or public parking.

They New York City Department of Transportation said there are currently three Street Seat locations in Brooklyn.

Another four are planned, and four others are undergoing the approval process.


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