Picking up other people’s garbage on Duane Street

The curbside dining shed abandoned by the short-lived Serenata restaurant at 181 Duane has become not just a sad eyesore, but also a dumping ground for garbage from nearby buildings, neighbors tell me. This is not the first time the sheds have been used this way — I know others have created problems as well — but if I was to guess, this one will be empty for a long while.

The storefront was the longtime home of Max (if you want to go further back, read Tom Miller’s post) but around 2017, the gas was cut to the building for a year while they tried to run the restaurant there (it cost them a fortune to retrofit the kitchen with alternative ranges and ovens). Max finally decamped (thank goodness) for West Broadway in 2018, next to Edward’s.

Then the space had signs for a restaurant called Gallo Nero, which applied for a liquor license in July 2019, and I *think* they opened for a hot second, but was empty when the pandemic shut the city down. Then in May 2020, Serenata opened, serving margaritas on the street without a liquor license. They finally applied for one in February 2021, which I assume they got, during a meeting where the owner of the restaurant was unclear about its location.

By November 2021, it was closed. 

Lately the curbside shed has been a depository for trash, and while they set some rat traps there, now “someone from the building is throwing their unbagged trash on the street outside of 183 Duane and *that* tenant gets fined $300 — so now he’s out there cleaning up other people’s trash,” one neighbor told me.

Now that the Citi Bike dock has been moved and the street has been repaved, it would be smart of the building owner to dismantle the shed — though maybe a better idea is to slide it a few doors west to the Hideaway, which has been a stalwart through the pandemic — and rescue this perfect little strip of Duane so Duane Park Patisserie and the other storefronts can thrive there.



  1. Can we also talk about the new garbage can structure that Sushi Gari created on Duane Street. While I appreciate the intent it is an eyesore and I can’t imagine approved by Landmarks. Anything we can do to get removed?

  2. thanks for bringing this to the neighborhood’s attention.
    where shall I begin? not only is the shed an eyesore it’s the local rat motel! all the rats that are burrowing in my “garden”, (and my nieghbors planter) ruining not only my aesthetic but more than $1000 worth of plantings in the last 4 months – live under the shed. I know- i chase them with my hose and my broom. they check in under the shed and stay safe until night when the coast is clear.
    i filed a complaint in November with 311 for abandoned “restaurant street sheds” so far, nada. no response.
    i have spoken with “representatives” of the building- so far ,nada.- no response.
    i’m paying the Rat Trap Company $250/month for a specialized trap to keep the critters from invading my space- seems to have worked for a while , but now –they are back.!! smart critters indeed.
    Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that i do not give in/ up to adversity– but I am running out of ideas.

    • Perhaps you could contact the new DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez (former City Councilperson representing Inwood) about getting rid of the restaurant shed?

      On the DOT website, there should be a place to directly contact him. Or via Twitter?

      Restaurant street sheds are resulting in massive rat infestation. And trash bags shoved in front of other buildings.

      Maybe contact one of the local news stations also?

    • @Madeline – Advice from someone with experience trying to get DOT to enforce any regulations regarding street sheds: don’t get your hopes up for a remedy, but also don’t give up on filing complaints and writing letters to city officials! a) Continue to file 311 complaints about the abandoned shed, note the 311 Service Request numbers, and follow up on them. b) Write to DOT Commissioner Rodriguez and ask him to follow through on the city’s promise to take down abandoned sheds. c) Write to your City Council Member, Christopher Marte. He is on record as being very concerned about the public health (and other) issues inhabitants of his district have experienced as a result of the proliferation of restaurant street sheds. d) Write to your community board District Manager and let him know what’s happening – Man01@cb.nyc.gov
      Best of luck to you in keeping your beloved business safe and clean!

  3. Unfortunately this rat problem it is all over the city!
    I think the city has to come up with something, to do their best and solve this problem. :(