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In addition to looking both ways before you cross the street, you might want to keep a look out while you dine — a runaway truck plowed into the Atlas Social Club’s outdoor dining shed early Thursday.
The driver of a large green Mack Truck abandoned his double-parked post in front of Jasper’s to pop into a nearby deli, leaving the massive, multi-ton vehicle to roll down 9th Avenue before smashing into the outdoor dining pavilion at the popular Atlas Social Club along W51st Street. Police confirmed that there were no injuries or arrests made at the scene.
Co-owners Pablo Raimondi and Tom Mazar were shaken by the incident, but said that without the presence of the outdoor shed, the damage could have been much worse. “Had the shed not been here, the truck would have gone straight over the sidewalk and into the building,” said Raimondi. “It’s a nightmare, but thankfully there was nobody on the street.”
This isn’t the first literal run-in between errant vehicles and New York’s most controversial new tenant, the outdoor dining shed. Earlier this week, the driver of a BMW crashed into the outdoor dining structure at UES bar and restaurant The Sefton — luckily, no one was seated in the area at the time of the accident. Over on W55th Street, Quality Bistro’s shed recently suffered an even more dramatic fate — being engulfed in flames in a case of suspected arson.
For Atlas Social Club, the blow was another hit to what was “a rough winter”, said Raimondi. The club, opened to great fanfare in 2013 with guests including Whoopi Goldberg, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on opening night. It is a favorite among locals and celebrities alike — but like many neighborhood businesses, it has suffered the slings and arrows of COVID closures and damage from a vandalism spree last summer.
Determined not to let the runaway vehicle ruin what is thus far, the nicest outdoor dining weather of the year, Raimondi and Mazar plan to open for business this evening. “The bar is fine to open,” said Raimondi. “At best, if we can take out the ceiling of the shed and then do a reduced space with the platform alone, we may have outdoor dining — but I don’t know, we’ll see. But the bar is going to be fine.”
Locals looking to support the neighborhood landmark should make a plan to head for a happy hour drink at the Atlas tonight — but be sure to keep your wits about you when walking over. As this story went to press, a double-decker tour bus crashed into the scaffolding on W51st and 7th Avenue…