Group Rallying to ‘Chuck the Sheds’ from Open Restaurants

Posted on: February 4th, 2022 at 5:00 am by

Open Restaurants, an emergency measure the city instituted when New York State prohibited indoor dining in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remains on a path to permanence. But residents around the Five Boroughs are rallying against the plan, citing loss of quality-of-life through noise, trash heaps, rats, fire hazards, and blocked sidewalks.

The Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy – an alliance of neighborhood and block associations, organizations, businesses, and residents – organized a protest action for tomorrow afternoon to shed light on the blight. It starts at noon at Father Demo Square for a march to the Washington Square Arch, where there will be speakers supporting removal of sheds from the streetscape.

Promoted by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and supported by the hospitality industry, the program was conceived to ease the path for food establishments to serve customers on sidewalks and curbside shanties. Hearings were held at community boards throughout the city, resulting in an overall rejection by 62% to 38% margin. A group of 23 citizens, mostly in Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side, also filed a lawsuit against the city in New York Supreme Court, claiming the city bypassed long-standing zoning rules and is not considering the program’s long-term effects.

Open Restaurants was a lifeline for food establishments when customers were prohibited from dining inside. Detractors now say, however, that the sheds are an extension of bars’ indoor spaces. Effectively leading to noise, excess trash and the rats that feed, traffic and honking horns, and the overall loss of sidewalks. The structures also pose a problem to emergency responders like firefighters by obstructing and narrowing vehicular lanes.

Photo: Candace Pedraza


Recent Stories

Chinatown Garment Industry Hanging by a Thread

Once a hub of manufacturing for the city’s garment industry, there are only a few remaining factories in Chinatown from a peak in the hundreds. The localized industry, which once employed thousands of immigrant women and men, sparked an area restaurant boom in the 1970s. Yet, began to decline in the late 1980s when manufacturers started […]

Residents Unite Against Developer Plans to Swap Park for Parking on LES Waterfront

Residents on the Lower East Side waterfront may soon lose more publicly accessible outdoor space. The developer of a new super-tall plans to reduce a children’s playground to a parking lot. As excavation work commences on Chetrit Group’s 70-story, twin-towered development at 265 South Street, tenants in the adjacent building – Lands End II – […]

Chinatown Homeless Murder Suspect Still Awaiting Trial

More than two years since the horrific murder of four homeless men in Chinatown, the suspect has yet to be held accountable for the crimes. In the early morning hours of October 5, 2019 Randy Santos stalked, then allegedly bludgeoned to death Cheun Kwok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran and Nazario Vasqez-Villegas while asleep on the streets. In […]

Excavation Begins for 70-Story South Street Towers

Cranes, and plywood, and pile-drivers, oh my! Such is the story down on the Lower East Side waterfront. Department of Buildings on April 12 issued official approval to the Chetrit Group to begin foundation activities for its dual 70-story tower at 265 South. A month later, the big trucks are mobilized. While excavation is now […]

For 7th Year Running, Greek Jewish Festival Returns to Broome Street this Weekend

After a more subdued outing last year, the Greek Jewish Festival this spring is on the rebound, pulling out the stops. It returns on Sunday for another go-round. Founded by Kehila Kedosha Janina on Broome Street seven years ago, the event celebrates the culture and traditions of the Greek Jewish community. Years past saw crowds […]