Outdoor dining gets real: Regs released for curbside heating

I’ve been asking the Fire Department for several weeks now what the plan was for propane on the streets, since it’s not legal to have tanks in the city yet the sidewalks are now lined with curbside heaters. The answer came last night:

Restaurants have three choices: electric heaters on the sidewalk or curbside; natural gas heaters on the sidewalk only; or propane heaters also on the sidewalk only.

It took three agencies to figure this out, and the guidelines will come from each of the three, depending on what option a restaurant chooses (I am not kidding). Electric = DOB; natural gas = DOB; propane = FDNY. DOT controls the Open Restaurant program overall.

I ordered a packable down throw in a two-pack.



  1. I advise everyone to remember this cautionary tale the next time anyone says that high commercial rents are the big impediment to people opening restaurants or retail businesses. It is rather the onerous, never-ending regulation and mandates.

    It is this kind of bureaucratic nonsense EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC INDUCED ECONOMIC DEPRESSION that turns entrepreneurs off from wanting to open a business in NYC.

    At least someone (in the City Council) had the sense to toss aside now all of these zoning regulations, codes, and community board input that limited sidewalk cafes.

    I wonder when DOH and DCA and the rest of the alphabet soup are going to get involved.

  2. Any word on Tribeca Kitchen re-opening?

  3. Does anyone have a reason why NYC is the only place that I know of that bans propane tanks?