The fate of outdoor dining structures for Hell’s Kitchen restaurant owners might pivot on parking restrictions outside their premises.

Chef Charlie Marshall outdoor dining
Chef Charlie Marshall at The Marshal is likely to lose 20 of his 28 outdoor seats with the new rules. Photo: Phil O’Brien

After the Department of Transport (DOT) issued proposed rules for outdoor dining, restaurant owners closely examined the fine print and found their futures could hinge on parking signs on their street or avenue. Most establishments on 9th and 10th Avenues will likely have to remove their sheds between 4-7 pm or forfeit outdoor seating due to the “No Standing” parking rules.

While owners welcome the clarity after operating under temporary pandemic permissions, some worry the regulations will make outdoor dining much more difficult.

Diners 44&X No Standing
Diners at 44&X on 10th Avenue last night — next to a “No Standing” sign. Photo: Phil O’Brien

“If applied as proposed, the rules do little to fulfill the promise of permanent street seating, except for the few restaurants not infringing on parking restrictions,” said Charlie Marshall, chef and owner of The Marshal on 10th Avenue. “We’ll likely lose outdoor seating after November 2024.”

Marshall said the changes could shrink his current 28 seats to just eight. Across Hell’s Kitchen, multiple restaurants have removed outdoor sheds over the past two years to accommodate new bike lanes. Firstly, in May 2022, over 500 outdoor dining seats were lost during the creation of the “super sidewalk” on 9th Avenue. More recently, in July 2023, the west side of 10th Avenue was cleared to create a bike lane.

New Regulations Outdoor Dininig
Visualization of Hypothetical Roadway Setup Under Proposed Rules for Dining Out NYC. Photo: New York City Department of Transportation

“Outdoor dining saved 100,000 jobs in New York City during the pandemic and gave the five boroughs something New Yorkers had been craving for a long time, and now, thanks to this program, it is here to stay,” said Mayor Adams. “Our vision for the program will be developed in close partnership with restaurant owners, diners, and communities, and I am confident it will be a win for our entire city.”

The newly proposed outdoor dining guidelines requiring open-air structures have frustrated restaurant and bar owners, who argue such flimsy setups won’t withstand the city’s increasingly unpredictable and severe weather. Mathias Van Leyden, the owner of Loulou in Chelsea, spent $200,000 on his enclosed outdoor sheds and refuses to shell out more money to satisfy the new rules, bluntly stating to Streetsblog: “They can go F— themselves.”

New Regulations Outdoor Dininig
Visualization of Hypothetical Roadway Setup Under Proposed Rules for Dining Out NYC. Photo: New York City Department of Transportation

After struggling through the pandemic, labor shortages and inflation, profit margins remain thin for many restaurants. Continued outdoor seating may determine whether some eateries can be economically viable.

Local Councilmember Erik Bottcher, who voted against outdoor dining when the bill passed in August, said: “As we begin to review these draft rules, it is important to remember that they are just that — draft rules. This is the opportunity for all stakeholders to provide their feedback and ensure that these regulations work for both our beloved small businesses and our residents alike. I encourage everyone to thoroughly review the draft rules and actively participate in the feedback process. Together, I’m hopeful we can shape a framework that supports our local businesses and creates a vibrant, inclusive environment for all New Yorkers.”

Alternative Side Parking Outdoor Dining
The future of Hell’s Kitchen’s outdoor dining could depend on what parking restrictions are in place. Photo: Phil O’Brien

New Yorkers can provide written comments on the proposed rules online or by attending a virtual public hearing online or by phone on Monday, November 20 at 10am. To sign up to speak at the hearing, email Permits are not expected to be issued until Spring 2024 and owners can operate under current guidelines until November 2024.

Join the Conversation


  1. I see this more as a compromise than a pivot; outdoor dining isn’t being eliminated. It’s just that changes have to be made to allow flexibility to both the restaurants and the DoT 🤷🏻‍♂️

  2. Outdoor dining has been fantastic and has brought life to our streets. I hate the idea of homogenized little sheds with little to no creativity and no enclosures, which have been great against the wind and rain.

  3. Diners can now dine indoors, it’s time for these outdoor dining sheds to go! They were a temporary measure, and are not needed. They are dangerous eyesores that encourage vermin, drug use and homeless people.

  4. Although I want to do everything possible to help restaurant owners in Hell’s Kitchen, traffic is so bad now and between the bike lanes (usually empty) and the “sheds” there is less and less room for vehicles. And please, limit the size of the sheds. DBL on 47th and 10th is so large it become an outdoor hotel for the homeless (not their fault, but there has to be a better solution) and rats.

  5. Just get rid of them There are disabled people and family with carriages and delivery people and it has been a real nuisance along with everything else that has already been stated Don’t people consider the old and disabled??? Plus the greed and taking more space then what they are given seems to be a usual. Yes its nice but we are not designed for this

  6. Respectfully, I live on Ninth between 46th and 47th .. and I get it where folks don’t want the sheds…… BUT as a practical matter – it’s either sheds, or cars… and that’s the reality here..

    Your call everyone – Pick one or the other…

    1. I’ll take cars any day (no I don’t have one – I don’t drive). The main rats here are the transportation fascists. If restaurants want more space, they should rent more space. The hood used to be really nice with a variety of retail uses; now it’s just bars and more bars.

  7. Will share an op-ed excerpt posted in the Village Sun by Leslie Clark 7/31/23 because no one can say it better about “Dining In The Gutter”

    “Open Plans co-director Sara Lind thanked all those who worked “diligently behind the scenes.” Keith Powers, the City Council Democratic majority leader, spoke of “months of tricky discussions.” Hospitality Alliance chief Andrew Rigie bragged about “two years of discussions and negotiations with the mayor’s administration and the City Council” led by Rigie’s chief legal counsel.

    The result of these exclusive backroom deals? An “anywhere everywhere” piece of legislation that would allow any restaurant to open a sidewalk or roadway cafe anywhere and, therefore, everywhere. And no limits on how many outdoor dining setups can be on any block. No distinction drawn between commercial corridors and small residential side streets where people live and once tried to sleep at night.

    Forget about sleeping when this legislation passes. Intro 31C contains no sound mitigation at all, nothing to prevent loudspeakers and televisions in the sidewalk cafes or roadway setups. And the noise will invade neighboring homes from 10 a.m. to midnight — by decree of this legislation. That’s 14 hours out of every 24-hour day. Who cares if kids, elders and working people can’t get a good night’s sleep? Not industry lobbyists and not our mayor.”

    As for my own comment-the DOT “managing’ oversight of these sheds when fixing potholes seems to be above their pay grade would be laughable were it not for the actual invasive health harm to residents who live adjacent and atop these sheds. Let’s also remember, NYC has become an anything goes place-just as swagger Adams likes it-where one is lucky not to be run over by scofflaw unlicensed bikers on sidewalks-where the disabled are illegally gated from equal access on “Open Streets”/CLOSED STREETS and where -like it or not-blasting, amplified noise aka “music” from within restaurants and bars rely on an arbitrary and often MIA 311 standard- residents are frankly trapped and screwed.”

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