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Features, More Top Stories, Restaurants

Since Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out the open restaurants program last month, allowing eateries to serve diners on sidewalks and in adjacent parking spots, over 9,000 eateries have reopened for outdoor dining. Offering another lifeline to the struggling industry, especially now that indoor dining has been postponed indefinitely, the city has also closed more than 40 blocks to traffic for its weekend-only open streets dining program, overseen by community organizations and neighborhood Business Improvement Districts. With so many al fresco dining options available, we’re rounding up the most iconic New York City streets and establishments now open for outdoor dining, from the most photographed block in Brooklyn and New York’s oldest bar in Queens to open-air plazas with views of city landmarks.

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City Living, Restaurants, Williamsburg

2018 Smorgasburg; Photo by Scott Lynch

Popular outdoor food market Smorgasburg returns to Williamsburg next week with a new takeout-only model. As Eater New York first reported, “Smorg To Go” will launch on Monday, July 20, with 10 vendors serving fare at 51 North 6th Street at Kent Avenue, a block from the market’s typical summer location at Marsha P. Johnson State Park. The new takeout market will operate seven days per week with a rotating list of vendors.

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DUMBO, Restaurants

Courtesy of the Dumbo Improvement District

Over the weekend, nearly two dozen streets currently closed to cars opened to outdoor dining, including one of New York City’s most photographed blocks. In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo, outdoor dining was expanded onto several streets, like on Washington Street between Water Street and Front Streets, where the Manhattan Bridge is perfectly framed between buildings. As part of the expanded open restaurants program, the Dumbo restaurants can take over the streets on Friday nights and weekends only.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Takeout alcoholic beverages will be legal in New York for at least one more month, under an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week. As mandated by the governor and the New York State Liquor Authority in March in response to the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, businesses can continue to sell to-go beer, wine, and liquor until July 26. The relaxed liquor rules, which have been extended every 30 days since instated on March 16, proved popular with restaurants and bars looking for alternative ways to bring in revenue.

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New Jersey, Policy, Restaurants

Photo of Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten by cogito ergo imago on Flickr

Restaurants and bars in New Jersey will no longer be able to resume indoor service on Thursday as planned, Gov. Phil Murphy announced. The governor on Monday said the pause of this part of the state’s reopening plan comes as coronavirus cases spike across the country and more photos and videos of maskless crowds at establishments have surfaced. “It brings me no joy to do this, but we have no choice,” Murphy said during a press briefing.

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maps, Restaurants

Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray celebrate the launch of Phase 2 reopening by eating dinner at Melba’s in Harlem; Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Restaurants and bars officially reopened for outdoor dining this week as part of New York City’s phase two of reopening. Since Monday, more than 5,650 restaurants have applied, self-certified, and opened their sidewalk, patios, and adjacent parking spots to diners. To make it easier to find which establishments are open for al fresco dining in your neighborhood, the Department of Transportation on Friday released a dashboard and an interactive map that let New Yorkers search for open restaurants by borough and ZIP code.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo of New Yorkers drinking on St. Mark’s Place in May by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Any New York bar or restaurant found to be in violation of the state’s reopening rules could now immediately lose their liquor license or be forced to shut down. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed two executive orders that would allow for officials to revoke liquor licenses if state guidelines are not followed. The governor’s second executive order holds bars responsible for the area in front of their establishment. The mandates come after Cuomo said he would reverse the reopening of some regions if the state’s guidelines were not followed. According to the governor, more than 25,000 complaints about businesses in violation of the reopening plan have been filed statewide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority of grievances made about restaurants and bars in Manhattan and in the Hamptons.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by almapapi on Pixabay

The New York City Council is set to introduce legislation on Thursday that requires the city to use open space for outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants and bars have now been closed for in-person service for over two months because of the state’s “pause” order that shuttered all nonessential businesses. And while takeout and delivery options remain available, the restaurant industry has taken a tremendous hit, with many longtime restaurants forced to close permanently.

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Policy, Restaurants

To-go booze in New York could be here to stay

By Devin Gannon, Fri, May 22, 2020

Photo: Louise Ma / WNYC via Flickr Creative Commmons

When the state closed all restaurants and bars in March except for takeout service, the New York State Liquor Authority legalized to-go alcoholic beverages, including wine and liquor, for the first time. A state official wants to make the temporary law change permanent. State Sen. Brad Hoylman on Thursday introduced legislation that would let bars and restaurants continue to serve wine, beer, and cocktails for take-out and delivery for at least two years after the state of emergency ends.

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Design, Restaurants

Illustration by the Rockwell Group

The idea to turn New York City streets and sidewalks into space for al fresco dining when restaurants can eventually reopen has been supported by local officials, small businesses, and even architects. Designer David Rockwell and his firm the Rockwell Group have put together a template for ways to use outdoor space for restaurant use while maintaining safe and socially distant conditions.

See the design

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Archtober2020