The New York City Council on Wednesday passed legislation that temporarily caps the commission third-party delivery services are allowed to charge restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill sponsored by Council Member Francisco Moya restricts commission fees charged by apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats at 20 percent during any state of emergency and 90 days following. The legislation comes as the city’s restaurants struggle to survive during COVID-19, with the state’s “pause order” forcing businesses to rely on take-out and delivery orders.
While you can’t support your favorite Mexican restaurant in-person on Cinco de Mayo this year, many eateries remain open for take-out and delivery orders to keep the party going at home. And with the holiday landing on Taco Tuesday, restaurants are especially stepping up their game, offering everything from margarita pitchers and frozen cocktails to DIY taco kits and fiesta boxes.
We all want to support the small businesses in our New York neighborhoods during this difficult time. But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which stores and restaurants are currently open. A number of local websites and organizations have created easy-to-use search engines and interactive maps that provide information on open businesses.
Coogan’s Restaurant in Washington Heights, via CityRealty
An iconic Irish pub is closing its doors after 35 years in Washington Heights because of the coronavirus pandemic. The owners of Coogan’s restaurant and bar, located on Broadway between 168th and 169th Streets, announced on Monday “a fond farewell” in a Facebook post. “Ironically, this past March 17 would be the last time Coogan’s closed its doors,” owners Dave Hunt, Tess O’Connor McDade, and Peter Walsh wrote. “We had hoped to open them again but sadly that is not possible.”
A local nonprofit is helping more than two dozen New York City restaurants stay open amid mass coronavirus-related closures. Last month, Rethink Food NYC launched a “Restaurant Response” program that partners with restaurants in need of financial support and provides free or subsidized food to New Yorkers in need. As part of the program, the nonprofit will award 30 New York City restaurants a grant of up to $40,000 to help make 24,000 meals in total per day.
It’s officially the dog days of summer. This week, New Yorkers can dine out with their four-legged friends at a number of restaurants during the city’s first-ever Dog Restaurant Week. Hosted by Petminded, an organization that helps owners travel with pets, the weeklong event includes special promotions at more than a dozen dog-friendly restaurants across the city.
Automat by Berenice Abbott, 1936
In the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s Automats were a New York City dining staple for a hard-working lunch crowd, a modernist icon for a boundless machine-age future. At their height there were over three dozen in the city, serving 800,000 people a day. And nearly everyone who actually experienced Automats in their heyday says the same thing: They never forgot the thrill of being a kid at the Automat.
Created by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902, coin-operated Automats were lovingly-designed Art Deco temples to modern efficiency. Sleek steel and glass vending machine grids displayed sandwiches and main dishes as well as desserts and sides, each in their own little boxes, square and even, clean and well-lit. You put a coin in the slot, opened the door and removed your food—which was reportedly quite good, as the founders took terrific pride in their craft.
- You never step foot in a fast food joint (right? RIGHT?!), but for those times when it’s an emergency and you need that greasy, fried goodness I Quant NY reported on the cleanest fast food chain in the city, so you can at least eat some grub that wasn’t dropped on the floor first.
- Continuing on our food journey, The Village Voice rounded up the 10 iconic New York foods and where to find them.
- Why aren’t the souvenirs from NYC as great as this cartoon tourist map tablecloth Scouting NY‘s aunt got in the 50s?! Check out the old Madison Square Garden building (closed in ’68).
- Ever wanted to see a brand, spankin’ new subway car before it becomes a hub of germs, dirt and mysterious stains? Business Insider gets an exclusive look at how and where they’re built. We wonder if it has that new (subway) car smell…
From “coffices” to lab-like minimalist gourmet coffee meccas to cozy neighborhood hangouts, neighborhood cafes are a fine example of the essential “third place” mentioned in discussions of community dynamics: that place, neither work nor home, where regulars gather and everyone’s welcome.
Along with yoga studios, art galleries, community gardens, vintage clothing shops, restaurants with pedigreed owners and adventurous menus and, some say, a change in the offerings on local grocery shelves, cafes are often the earliest sign of neighborhood change. The neighborhood cafe serves as a testing ground for community cohesiveness while adventurous entrepreneurs test the still-unfamiliar waters around them. Beyond the literal gesture of offering sustenance, cafes provide a place where you can actually see who your neighbors are and appreciate the fact that at least some of them are willing to make an investment locally.
American diners are neon-lit time capsules of architecture and design. They are the ’57 Ford Thunderbird of restaurants, shaping post-war optimism and far too much metal into something beautiful and quintessentially American. Best of all, you can still find plenty of little diners doing what they have always done, among the rising skylines and property values of New York City.