Want to Dine Al Fresco Tonight? This Interactive Map Shows All 1,357 Sidewalk Cafés in NYC

Posted On Fri, August 28, 2015 By

Posted On Fri, August 28, 2015 By In City Living, maps, Restaurants

This time of year, who wants to eat inside? New Yorkers are constantly on the hunt for a great al fresco restaurant where they can snag a table and enjoy the warm weather and people watch. And with this handy new map from the city, picking a spot just got a whole lot easier. The interactive platform plots all 1,357 sidewalk cafés in the city, as well as how many outdoor tables and chairs are allowed, pending applications, license status, and health grades. But interestingly enough, the Department of Consumer Affairs didn’t create the map to make life easier for foodies; they want to “boost transparency and reduce confusion surrounding the licensing process,” according to Crain’s.

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Crain’s notes that outdoor dining is much more complicated for restaurant owners than it seems. “The licensing process for a sidewalk café is long and expensive, and once they’ve been given the green light to offer alfresco dining, the city aggressively regulates the size and number of tables they are allowed to have. Applications can be rejected because business owners are unaware of zoning regulations. And community boards often complain of excessive noise or crowding,” the paper writes.

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By aggregating all of the related information into one map, the city hopes it will be a win for both residents (who perhaps want to confirm a café’s legality) and business owners (who can check if a neighborhood is zoned for sidewalk dining and track the application process). It also paints a picture of where outdoor dining is most prominent. Manhattan accounts for 75% of the current sidewalk cafés and 67% of pending applications. Within the borough, Community Board 2, covering Soho and the Village, has the most cafés (232 with 43 more pending). Next in line are the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, respectively.

Explore the map here >>

[Via Crain’s]

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