Happy Mardi Gras, Happy March 1 and Happy First Day of Meteorological Spring! In New York, there’s going to be high 40s today — and down in New Orleans (where we’d love to be) it’s sunny and 68 degrees!

In July, The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) awarded over $137 million to 168 Hell’s Kitchen eateries, averaging out at $818,363 per business. The funds were a lifeline for those businesses fortunate enough to get an award — but two-thirds of the neighborhood’s struggling bar and restaurant owners were left with rejection and $0. Now owners are lobbying for federal fund replenishment, while welcoming back hungry tourists and finding innovative help from Amex and Resy. Read more…

Hell’s Kitchen business owners reacted with cautious optimism to Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement that proof of vaccination will no longer be necessary to enter New York’s restaurants, bars, and coffee shops from next week. Maya Joseph of Sullivan Street Bakery summed up the thoughts of many restaurateurs: “It’s nice to look forward to less police work and more hospitality in the months to come.” More here…

What do you think of the Mayor’s decision to not require proof of vaccination indoors in New York? Please take our brief survey…

What we’ve been reading

What do you get from the NFT vending machine downtown? (The Guardian)

Charlie Marshall restarts his New York wine-led dinner series. (New York Times)

Is automobile crime more deadly than subway crime? (City Limits)

Woman hurt by falling skyscraper ice on Billionaire’s Row. (New York Daily News)

Bemoaning moaning — 311 complaints of noisy New York couples. (Patch)

Freeze Frame

So what’s your favorite coffee cup moment? Thanks to Rhys McKinnon for sharing this barista’s take on his name.

Happy birthday to Robby Sweeney.