In the News: A lawsuit challenging dining sheds

The Daily News has a story on a recent lawsuit against the city’s Open Restaurant program (meaning dining sheds in the curbside) brought by Cue-Up, or the Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy. The network of block associations argue that the process that created the permanent program was “unjust and undemocratic.” They are seeking enforcement of the current regulations guiding Open Restaurants, the repeal of NYC Local Law 114, which set the stage for a permanent Open Restaurants program, and greater community-based review and approval of how the streets and sidewalks are used.

Architectural Digest has a roundup of the most beautiful transportation hubs in the WORLD and gives Calatrava’s Oculus the #1 spot among some excellent competition.

Golden Diner in Two Bridges gets a shoutout in Eater’s list of the best burgers in the city: “The cheeseburger at Momofuku alum Samuel Yoo’s charming Two Bridges diner comes with a crisped, 6-ounce chuck and brisket blend and all the regular toppings like tomato, onions, and lettuce. But there’s also an unusual addition, as well — a mushroom gochujang sauce — that makes this burger spicy, earthy, and utterly electric.”

Eater reports that after 25 years, Jean-Georges Vongerichten will close Soho hotspot Mercer Kitchen at the end of the year. But he still has about 50 restaurants, and here, the entire Tin Building.



  1. Le Gratin is from Daniel Boloud, not Jean-George Vongerichten

  2. it’s time to wind down the street sheds. it should be done gradually with enough notice to minimize the economic impact on the restaurants. i think it should start with a halt to new shed building. maybe it’s ok to let them stay up through the winter to help the restaurants get through any virus outbreaks that may occur but there should be a deadline in the early spring for their removal.

    • Covid is over except for the three people you know who get it each week

      • I agree, let’s bring on Chinese CCP style totalitarian lock downs. The numerous martinets in this city are feeling neglected.

        • I think the point is that no one, I can imagine, wants to have COVID every other month. Right now indoor dining is absolutely leading to multiple infections. Everywhere in the world. It’s irrefutable, and it is unquestionably better to eat in an outdoor, _open_ environment if you’re going to be around strangers. This isn’t politics or economics, but common sense.

          • I love dining outdoors. Some of the local restaurants have really well-done sheds that are both attractive and, importantly, have one or more side totally open so that it’s actually helpful from a covid perspective. (eg, Odeon, Locanda Verde, Bubby’s, Terroir, DP Patisserie, etc).

            Other restaurants have essentially used the sheds as an opportunity to expand their restaurants on public sidewalks. Paisely is the worst offender, in my opinion — they’ve built a totally enclosed addition to their building on a public sidewalk. It’s offensive. One White has a lovely patio area in front of the restaurant, and then a fully enclosed structure around the corner that isn’t necessary.

            The outdoor dining program should stay but needs rigorous oversight for new applications **and enforcement/modifications for existing structures**. There also should be a rule that if you’re not actively using the shed for xx months, it has to come down. Scalini Fedeli didn’t use their shed over the winter, so it sat there attracting rats underneath and taking up 2-3 parking spots for months on end.

      • Covid is over!?! Are you an epidemiologist?

    • I like this approach. We don’t know what the upcoming Winter brings. I also like not shocking the (economic) system by just shutting down outdoor dining. It’s been really useful to be able to add head/seat count to restaurants in the tough pandemic times and now during a recession.

      The only adjustment I might make is to allow it through next Summer. I think we all mostly enjoy sitting outside in warmer weather, so why not see one more Summer through?!

    • @ J Frank P – “Covid is over except for the three people you know who get it each week.”

      i never said is was over. i had it myself recently. the point is that it’s a treatable disease now and we need for the city to get back to normal.

  3. I love outdoor dining, but being outdoor, not being in a shed. they are hot and gross. If they want to keep outdoor dining do it tastefully with tables on the side walk, if there is room. These sheds are ugly and the restaurants that built out the building like Pasley. That is horrible. The city looks dirty and the rats are all over the place. It is time for them to go.

    • I agree…These sheds are simply unhealthy, unsanitary, vulgar and ugly. I agree though that outdoor dining with terraces can be achieved if done correctly on SPECIFIC SITES ONLY.
      These sheds are simply gross and must go.

    • While I appreciate the great comments on this site and others, I would prefer if we could all stop using broad generalizations like “these sheds are ugly.” Some are, yes, but others are not. Further, “sheds” is a broad term in and of itself. Perhaps those that you have been in “t” are “hot and gross” because you have only been inside sheds that are fully enclosed and have no windows (which for me, is basically the same as indoor dining but on a street – which, is counter to the reason that we dine outside – which is that until COVID is further abated, my husband prefer to err on the side of caution).

      Odeon has a lovely outdoor space – open on one full side, partially open on others, airy, spacey, comfortable and as “tasteful” as any sidewalk with tables except better suited to seasonal weather changes. There is nothing “dirty” about it – in fact, I cycle past Odeon to get to work and every am they are out soaping and hosing the sheds, sidewalks, and surrounding street – and its not just Odeon – Khe Yo has open sheds that are well taken care of, same with Yves, Frenchette.

      That does not mean that there are not examples that are “ugly” or poorly attended – I do not see why the solution to it poor oversight of outdoor dining set-ups (shed or other forms of construction) is complete dissolution of the offering. I would prefer to push the city to increase their oversight – proper egress and sanitation, construction safety inspections, citations for those that don’t comply and a process to force the take-down of sheds after restaurants close (Twiggy is still up as an example). I know that it might be a pipe dream to expect this from NYC – but to this Tribeca citizen, better than potentially taking jobs away should (extra tables means extra servers).

      James, I don’t share your view that we should start “winding down” the program – especially as we are heading toward winter. Our local Tribeca restaurants are part of my friends and family – and despite an updated booster on the horizon, with the unknown future of COVID variants, I would much prefer knowing that they can serve customers who might revert back to avoiding inside dining.

      I sleep better at night knowing the the young dancer who served us outsiders earning a living wage that enables them to pursue their dreams so that one day, my husband and I might see them on a different stage. If that means I have to look away from the less-attractive/well-appointed sheds that occupy our streets to save those where I choose to dine – that doesn’t even qualify as a price I have to pay in light of the price most of our restaurant workers had to pay from the moment COVID started.

      • This encapsulates the entire failure of NYC regulation in general: “I would prefer to push the city to increase their oversight – proper egress and sanitation, construction safety inspections, citations for those that don’t comply and a process to force the take-down of sheds after restaurants close (Twiggy is still up as an example). I know that it might be a pipe dream to expect this from NYC[.]“

        NYC is generally inept at enforcing rules on bad actors. They are good at harassing those who have filed and attempt to comply with the rules, because they are “in the system” and convenient to find.

        Much easier for NYC bureaucrats just to ban something on the one hand or otherwise entirely decriminalize it, because they cannot effectively regulate.

        • James I completely agree that the City repeatedly fails at even the most basic tasks but the entire program should not be eradicated just because it is “ Much easier for NYC bureaucrats just to ban something on the one hand or otherwise entirely decriminalize it, because they cannot effectively regulate.”

          Easier to me is not the same as better – should the more compliant businesses and their staff, suffer because the city is not doing its job? I respect that you and others might be ok with that, respectfully, I do not. Is there a future that includes some of Marcus’s or other creative suggestions that better balance the needs of pedestrians, neighbors, cyclists, restaurant owners and staff and diners? I hope so.

          • It’s not a question of nicer sheds vs. ugly sheds. If a program is fundamentally wrong it needs to be erased before a more reasonable one is created with rules. Understandably restaurants that have multiplied their number of tables by more than 100% will try very hard to keep them, allied politicians and people profit from it will continue to use Covid fear mongering to silence opponents. Whether someone ‘ loves outdoor dining ‘ shouldn’t even be part of the conversation.

          • I’m not advocating that they remove the sheds. I’m predicting that they will.

  4. Maybe it is time for the sheds to go; most are ugly and poorly maintained, often vandalized, etc.

    However, I do like the expansion of outdoor dining and cafes, in select areas. Of course neighbors should have some say in this, in terms of extent, hours, noise, etc.

    But I think it should be done the opposite way from how the dining sheds were implemented. The dining sheds are built in the street which requires running service back and forth constantly across the sidewalk, often making sidewalks impassable at a busy restaurant.

    Instead, where feasible, perhaps: Widen the sidewalks, and have the outdoor tables and dining against the restaurant. Extendible canopies from the restaurant walls can protect against weather as needed. So, basically, European-style cafe seating.

    Sidewalks in the city were once much wider, after all, and maybe it’s time to go back to those wider sidewalks.

    An article from a few years ago about the once-wide NYC sidewalks:

  5. Covid is not over but managed. All dining sheds are not equal. When De Blasio announced to make them permanent there was a rush to build more, and more solid cabin style sheds, clearly a land grab. ( Belle Rêve, one of the most egregious example) On Church st. there are sheds never used and have become dumpsters. In Chinatown a few rarely used shabby structures have been removed recently, it can be done. (Though the city wants you to believe otherwise, costs…) Other businesses have follow suit and put more racks out on the sidewalk. ( souvenir shops in Little Italy)
    Everyone is incentivized to keep or remove these illegal restaurant extensions on public land, legal action is the only means to resolve this issue.

  6. It will take only one major fire unable to be properly dealt with by the Fire Department because of extensive dining sheds in front of the building to outlaw them.

  7. Just because it’s fresh in my mind, I thought I’d remind people that one of the best outdoor dining experiences in our neighborhood is at Kesté on Gold Street. The outdoor dining is on their property, not in a shed. There are proper heaters in the cold weather, and large umbrellas in case it rains. The food is superior — stands head and shoulders above other, similar fare; and the service is efficient, kind, and courteous. You aren’t pressured for time, and the prices are as friendly as the people who work there. It’s praiseworthy in these ways and more.