How Might Phase 2 Outdoor Dining Affect the Oversaturated LES?

Posted on: June 19th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Department of Transportation

The so-called Phase 2 of the reopening begins on Monday, and with it, the return of restaurant dining. Albeit modified.

The “Open Restaurants” plan put forth by the city last week envisions outdoor seating to dot the streets and sidewalks through October. Also starting next month, restaurants can place seating on roads already closed to vehicular traffic.

Mayor de Blasio announced an online application process to approve those restaurants that don’t already have a permit for outdoor seating. Given the sheer volume of businesses to reopen, a bottleneck seems likely.

Hizzoner also confirmed that the Open Restaurants initiative will likely benefit some 5,000 establishments across the city.

Here on the Lower East Side, some are concerned about the fate of Hell Square, and whether this system might encourage a Bourbon Street atmosphere (more so than pre-coronavirus). Yes, many bars already have sidewalk cafe privileges, but with all at parity and so close together, it’ll be interesting to see the community response.

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