The New York City Council approved a permanent outdoor dining program in a 34-11 vote this afternoon. Erik Bottcher, the Council Member for Hell’s Kitchen, voted against the legislation.

CM Erik Bottcher and Rat Czar Kathleen Corradi in Hell's Kitchen
Council Member Erik Bottcher and Rat Czar Kathleen Corradi inspecting outdoor dining in Hell’s Kitchen last month. Photo: Ariel Pacheco


  • The New York City Council approved a permanent outdoor dining program with a 34-11 vote, allowing roadway cafes from April to November and sidewalk cafes all year with permits. The legislation also includes regulations regarding the timing, permit costs, and location-specific fees for outdoor dining.
  • Some local business owners and chefs welcomed the decision, seeing it as a way to cut red tape, while Council Member Erik Bottcher voted against the bill, expressing concern over the lack of Council Members’ ability to approve applications for dining in the roadbed, and others have raised concerns about the details of the program, such as storage, safety and sanitation issues.
  • Mayor Eric Adams is expected to sign the bill into law, making outdoor dining a permanent fixture in New York City, with the new law aiming to address the biggest hurdles in making outdoor dining more equitable and accessible. Non-compliant dining sheds must be removed by November 1, 2024.

* This summary is made with the support of AI tool ChatGPT 4.0 and quality checked by W42ST staff.

Once Mayor Eric Adams signs the legislation passed by Council on Thursday afternoon, outdoor dining will become an al fresco experience that is permanent and more regulated. 

This afternoon, CM Bottcher told W42ST the reason for his no vote: “While I do support a permanent outdoor dining program and this bill has a lot of good provisions, I believe it falls short because it doesn’t give Council Members the ability to vote on approving applications for dining in the roadbed. It only gives us authority to approve sidewalk cafe applications.”

There are several key differences from the city’s pandemic-era outdoor dining program. Roadway cafes will only be allowed from April to November, while sidewalk cafes will be allowed all year round for holders of a four-year permit. A separate permit for curb-based roadway seating will be required. The program will be overseen by the Department of Transportation, with each permit costing $1,050. 

Restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors from 10 am until midnight — and in addition to the permits required, fees will be based on the restaurants’ location and size. The fees are higher for restaurants in Manhattan below 125th Street.

“This is great news! The devil is in the details, of course, so I think it remains to be seen how accessible and equitable this program will be for small businesses once all the final regulations are hammered out,” said chef Charlie Marshall at The Marshal on 10th Avenue.

Sean Hayden, owner/partner at Jasper’s Taphouse and Kitchen, along with local bars Alfie’sMcCoy’sDalton’s and Valerie had been frustrated by the speed of the process, but was delighted this afternoon. “This is great news,” he told us. “Hopefully, it doesn’t take too long to get the exact design specs — and then everybody sticks to it and keeps the places nice and clean so that people can sit outside and enjoy their meals.”

Amy Scherber, owner of Amy’s Bread, was excited by the bill being passed today. “I think it’s fantastic! It cuts the red tape that business owners have to go through. I had to hire an architect and a lawyer to help with all the paperwork for our outdoor cafe in Brooklyn several years ago. Outdoor cafes make the streets look more inviting and provide extra revenue for places with a tiny indoor dining room. It’s great for people to enjoy sitting outdoors in nice weather. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Robert Guarino, co-owner of Nizza, 5 Napkin Burger and Marseille on 9th Avenue, told W42ST this afternoon: “I was very pleased to learn that the City Council passed this permanent outdoor dining legislation today. I think this is a big win for quality of life in NYC. It was long overdue for there to be clear, permanent guidelines in place. The new process should improve on some of the shortcomings of the emergency legislation, while still allowing NYC streets and sidewalks to flourish with life.”

“We’re thrilled the City Council has passed this historic permanent outdoor dining program that includes sidewalk cafes and streeteries. The new law will cut the red tape and fees for restaurants to participate when compared to the overly restrictive pre-pandemic sidewalk café licenses, which excluded so many restaurants throughout the five boroughs from offering al fresco dining,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance in a statement.

Kausa Outdoor Dining
Lunchtime dining at Kausa on 9th Avenue in October 2021. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection voted this morning to advance the bill to make outdoor dining a permanent fixture. The vote passed 7-1 with the only vote against coming from CM Bottcher, who represents parts of The Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen.

Bottcher told Streetsblog last year “The use of road space for outdoor dining has been an overall positive development. Banning all restaurants from using road space for dining would be a mistake.” Bottcher had made the statement in response to City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams who at the time was against the bill but voted in favor of the resolution today. 

The full City Council later voted on the bill, with 34 members in favor, 11 voting against and no abstentions. 

Kashkaval outdoor dining
Outdoor dining at Kashkaval Garden on 9th Avenue in September 2021. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The Department of Transportation has already been responsible for the removal of several outdoor dining sheds in Hell’s Kitchen due to the implementation of a new bike lane along 10th Avenue. Tulcingo Del Valle, DBL, Valla Table and Mémé Mediterranean were all forced to remove their outdoor dining sheds.

Last year, more than 30 of Hell’s Kitchen’s restaurants and bars were ordered to dismantle their outdoor dining structures. 

The bill was first introduced in February 2022 and has since seen multiple iterations as sides have continuously negotiated. Opponents have been concerned about noise, parking and sanitary issues that outdoor dining sheds bring. 

“I’m also concerned because of the storage for their storefronts. What happens in the time between November and April when they’re not outdoors, how will they be storing their tables and chairs?” said Gale Brewer, who represents the 6th district of Manhattan (which includes parts of Hell’s Kitchen above W54th Street). She voted in favor of the bill but expressed concerns over some of the details. “Small businesses already pay a tax and I want to make sure that those that are paying for their outdoor cafes have a reasonable opportunity that’s not too high.”

Mayor Eric Adams has been a strong supporter of outdoor dining. He had issued numerous emergency orders to extend the program but a judge ruled on Tuesday that there is no basis for outdoor dining now that the pandemic has subsided. The judge also issued an injunction to prevent Adams from issuing further emergency orders to continue the program.

Now that the bill has been passed by the City Council, the bill will be presented to Mayor Adams who has 30 days to sign, veto, or take no action — although it is expected he will sign it into law.

“Outdoor dining is here to stay in New York City — and after decades of deliberation and a temporary program that showed us so much potential, I’m proud to lead the administration that will deliver a superior permanent outdoor dining product to New Yorkers and all those visiting the five boroughs,” said Adams in a statement. 

“This important piece of legislation will be a huge economic boon for our vital restaurant industry,” said Marjorie Velazquez, who sponsored the bill. “Building on what worked during the pandemic, we as a Council have addressed the biggest hurdles to making outdoor dining more equitable.”

Outdoor dining sheds that are not in compliance with the new rules must be removed by November 1, 2024. 

Here are some memories of Hell’s Kitchen outdoor dining from the pandemic to now…

EAK Ramen Outdoor Dining Restaurant Row Propane Heaters
Remember those days in February 2021 of winter dining under gas heaters? This is at EAK Ramen on Restaurant Row. Photo: EAK Ramen
Patzeria Outdoor Dining July 2020
The early days of outdoor dining at Patzeria Family & Friends (now closed) on W48th Street in July 2020. Photo via Patzeria Instagram.
West Bank Cafe outdoor dining.
Al fresco dining at West Bank Cafe during the warmer months in 2021. Photo: Phil O’Brien
The narrowing of the sidewalks on 9th Avenue has led to calls for clearer regulations. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Winter conditions 9th Avenue outdoor dining
Outdoor dining on the streets proved a challenge in the winter. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Runaway Truck Atlas Social Club
A runaway truck plowed into the outdoor dining at Atlas Social Club in April 2022. Photo: ASC
Empanada Mama Podnology Outdoor Dining
Empanada Mama invested heavily in their outdoor dining — including prefabricated units by Podnology. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Kasia Banas Route 66
Kasia Banas at Route 66 after being told she would have to take down her outside dining in Spring 2022: “The bureaucracy is awful. You can’t fight them.” Photo: Phil O’Brien
Alfie's Outdoor dining shed is demolished at Alfie's on 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen
The outdoor dining shed being demolished at Alfie’s on 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen in spring 2022. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Demolition Outdoor Dining at Scruffy Duffy's and Hellcat Annie's
Publican Pat Hughes voluntarily demolished his outdoor dining shacks at Scruffy Duffy’s and Hellcat Annie’s. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Giardino 54 outdoor dining
Giardino 54 removed their outdoor dining in the street. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Sesamo Outdoor DiningSesamo Outdoor Dining
Sesamo at the corner of W52nd and 10th Avenue removed their outdoor dining shed in summer 2022. Photos: Phil O’Brien
Mayor Adams Outdoor Dining
New York Mayor Eric Adams dressed to destroy abandoned outdoor dining sheds in August 2022. Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
VIV Thai
VIV Thai has become a feature of 9th Avenue with its archway of flowers. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Amarone Scarlatto
Amarone Scarlatto on 9th Avenue has more conventional outdoor dining — but has extended to the vacant former Starbucks on the corner of W47th Street. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Outdoor Dining Lilly's
Lilly’s Craft & Kitchen has recently moved to a more temporary outdoor dining setup. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Outdoor Dining Tulcingo Irma and Jesus
Irma and Jesus Verdejo demolished their popular outdoor dining shed at Tulcingo in July to make way for a 10th Avenue bike lane. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Outdoor Dining Tacuba
Outdoor dining on the sidewalk at Tacuba on 9th Avenue. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Join the Conversation


  1. Ironic that you quote Guarino, as his three businesses (Nizza, 5 Napkin Burger and Marseilles) are among the most flagrant and consistent violators of sidewalk cafe rules. So, it’s interesting to read that he’s a champion of HK “quality of life,” especially in light of the fact that his restaurants have completely overtaken the sidewalk. In many cases, his restaurants do not allow for the minimum distance to be clear of obstructions, as required by the city planning commission rules. There is little room for pedestrians to pass. They’ve stretched the boundaries of what is permissible and added menu stands, signs and barriers which further obstruct the flow of traffic. He runs good restaurants, but they are not good neighbors and I’ve stopped eating at all three. Unfortunately, I have to deal with the mess that Guarino has created several times a day. Most times, the one block stretch of Ninth Avenue (and extending well beyond on 44th street) is completely impassable: there are tourists three deep looking at menus, there are locked bicycles taking up further space… and there are pedestrians, baby carriages, folks in wheelchairs and delivery people with hand trucks, all attempting to pass in both directions. it’s a complete cluster and should not be allowed. This is common with most HK restaurants, of course, but these three restaurants are the most flagrant violators.

  2. Wow.
    Really disturbing that the article minimizes and miscategorizes the opinion of those who do not favor restaurant shacks/street dining stating “Opponents of the bill have been concerned about noise, parking and sanitary issues that outdoor dining sheds bring.”

    There are many issues including but not limited to:
    How can it be OK for the City to implement major land-use changes without public hearings, without notification to residents and a chance for residents to weigh in?

    Why should restaurants which are private businesses get help and priority and use of public space? In the meantime, the City has done ZERO for local retail and shops facing huge difficulties due to high rent, ecommerce and shoplifting.

    The restaurant sector is already over saturated in NYC. Neighborhoods don’t need more restaurants. Not everything should be a restaurant/bar.

    The street dining/shacks do result in trash, rats and no sleep for anyone unlucky to live nearby (but I guess that is not an issue for people privileged to live in luxury high-rises)

    Landlords will be frothing to jack up rents – which will impact local retail. Looking forward Manhattan will be a dystopia of luxury high-rise buildings and a shantytown of restaurant shacks, pot stores, nail salons and Targets for the SantaCon demographic.

    In some places – especially narrow streets – the shacks/street dining blocks ambulance/FDNY access.

    This is like yuppie fascism.


  3. I will simply say that this is a bad idea. At very least, there should have been community input, as there used to be with the siting of outdoor cafes. This is now a semi-permanent “taking” of public property by private enterprise. And I see nothing about enforcement, especially about how most of these sheds attract garbage and rats.

  4. Thank goodness propane heaters are no longer allowed and never were allowed in roadway sheds as shown in one of the photos. Greed over rules common sense and safety for residents that live atop roadway sheds that block doorways into their buildings making it difficult for EMS and FDNY emergencies. One of the craziest to make more money was a roadway shed duplex in the East Village:

  5. No consideration for handy cap, delivery people and strollers.
    Dot has no capacity to monitor and to think they can is ridiculous. Restaurants are taking advantage of the sidewalk use and at this point it is not a community based choice and one if greed both by restaurant owners and the city. Most of us suffered from the pandemic and still using this to gain position is not ok.

  6. Hell’s Kitchen has become the filthiest I’ve experienced this neighborhood in 30 years. I don’t mind the outdoor dining and the space taken up on the sidewalks, but I’d like to see every shed removed. They all stink of rat infestation and bleach that I assume is poured underneath to try to sanitize. It’s disgusting. They were a great idea during the pandemic, but the reality is that the longer they stand, the more they attract rats and stink up the streets. In fact, the sheds prevent me from wanting to dine outdoors at all because of the stench in the neighborhood. I don’t know how anyone tolerates it. What happened to the requirement of businesses routinely washing their sidewalk space?!? Hell’s Kitchen is in dire need of a deep clean!!!

  7. They are annoying. In some areas you literally have to walk in the street. They take up space as well as parking space. They are a hangout at night, music playing , drinking. They have to go.

  8. This bill passing is a great thing for disabled and immunocompromised people who are still unable to eat indoors due to the spread of COVID. With many restaurants having architectural barriers to even get to the front door, the outdoor dining areas provide wheelchair users access to places that were a no go before. Yes, there are some crappy ones that need to go, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. If anything, the bill should extend permissions for restaurants who want to order year round roadbed dining to be able to do so. If you would be upset about not being able to go out 4 months of the year, why do you think it’s okay to ask high risk people to stay home when there’s a perfectly accessible option that has already proven to work for nearly 4 years?

    1. Anna,
      With respect.
      Eating at a restaurant is not an entitlement.
      Many people can’t afford to eat at restaurants – but we do not give them more funds or lower prices so they can eat out.

      Personally my family rarely eats out.
      I don’t want the streets used for the restaurant business.

  9. Interesting that businesses are “thrilled” “excited” “delighted” and speak of the “good news” about the passage of this bill, while the councilman votes “no.” Disconnect?!!! …
    People complaining about rats and filth: I’ve visited the sheds at Mickey Spillane (since torn down), Norma, Coffee Project, the Marshal, and, Lilly’s… and none of these spaces smell like bleach or seem to have a problem with rats. The owners of these establishments seem responsible and are a good example of a successful program. I didn’t see any evidence at these sheds of obstruction. Although I don’t doubt that their are outliers (as always) that need to be dealt with).

  10. I eat and drink a lot at the outdoor spots . I’m the last few years I’ve never seen a rat . Garbage on the street is causing the rat problem . Start taking your food to one of the.many composts bins.

  11. It’s a good compromise, and who knows what can change or be amended from now to next year. If this means that the janky sheds come down because of this, great, because it’s THOSE SHEDS that create the smell and rodent problems, not the ones who are considerate to their neighbors & customers.

    It will be sad to see Restaurant Row’s sheds come down — I feel they’ve mostly held some good standards (e.g. Hold Fast) vs. others that aren’t that great.

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