We’re going to need a bigger deck

I’ll start making the rounds on indoor seating soon, but in the meantime, while the weather is still gorgeous, there’s been a new wave of curbside activity, with restaurants getting creative about their outdoor spaces and some finding creative indoor spaces too.

The city has greased the wheels a bit to make it easier to stay outside past fall, beyond making the Open Restaurants program permanent. Propane heaters are now permitted if they are on the sidewalk (though my suburban friends with decks tell me they are hard to source) and restaurants, with the permission of their neighbors, can extend past their own frontage. So we have Estancia 460 building an expansive seating area, as well as Yves and Smith & Mills, which have the same owner, building a bigger deck.

L’Angolo added a roof, and lot of local places have added plexi walls to the outside of their seating areas. And that’s Weatherup and Khe-Yo’s new street seating on Reade, looking especially festive a few nights ago.

Other creative solutions: Marc Forgione’s PR guy, Lonny Sweet, has created a delivery service called WeGate, which is a riff on tailgating but for the more sophisticated (if you’ll forgive me) set. The box comes with all the fixings including meat and veg which you then grill yourself. Forgione was his first and only partner so far, but he has Tiffani Faison coming soon.

And Grand Banks, which plans to stay at its berth on Pier 25 through the month, is now renting out the tiny “pilot house” on the stern of the boat. They have tricked it out and it is adorable inside, with casual seating for eight, but it will cost you: $100 a head before food and drink.

And you know, just for fun while we are talking about boats:



  1. Good news and best of luck to these and all other neighborhood restaurants. Hope they all get through these tough times. Will be supporting as may as I can!

  2. My wife always questions whether this doesn’t just amount to building an indoor structure outside, which obviously invites whatever peril accompanies that. Of course we all hope for the best for these establishments, but isn’t this just undermining the purpose of the guidelines?

    • That was exactly the comment I was going to post.

      The virus spreads more readily in low humidity air with poor ventilation and, per Brix’s comments yesterday, with heaters and without masks, so having one side open might be insufficient to ameliorate transmission of infectious aerosols.

      It would make a great deal of sense to have someone with expertise advice DeBlasio, but the economic interests are too great.

      • Yes, the “economic interests” are too great. These small and often family owned businesses will die without indoor and outdoor dining. The vast majority of restaurants are not making money and still owe 6+ months of rent to landlords. These are facts. While a number of people in our neighborhood may continue to earn a living working from their homes, many others are not as fortunate.

        This pandemic requires the balancing of several very difficult variables. More businesses dying and further economic distress will also lead to adverse health consequences. We must balance taking some moderate risk for the sake of supporting our city and small businesses.

    • The guidelines from the city clearly now state that if you build walls on your outdoor structure, you then have to abide by the 25 percent rule there as well. But you can have a roof and heaters which is what most places seems to be doing.