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Manhattan lawsuit aims to shut down outdoor dining options in NYC

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A Manhattan lawsuit has aimed to shut down outdoor dining options in New York City.

The eight-page Supreme Court filing cited “increased and excessive noise, traffic congestion, garbage and uncontrolled rodent populations (and) the blocking of sidewalks and roadways” since the Temporary Outdoor Restaurant program began in June 2020.

“Now some restaurant owners are using the sheds for storage, not for outdoor dining […] some are filled with garbage,” said Brooklyn Community Board 4 Chair Robert Camacho in an affidavit with Friday’s suit.

“Some are filled with garbage. Some have kids in there getting high.”

In addition, the lawsuit alleged, the outdoor dining option created problems for traffic on city streets and sidewalks, along with a dearth of parking spaces for customers that leads to a reduction in business.

“TOR also continues to appropriate substantial share of public sidewalks and streets for private use and profit,” the suit alleges.

The outdoor dining areas are wildly disparate in condition, with some inviting and well-maintained and others emitting the stench of human and animal waste.

Tanya Bonner, chair of the Task Force on Noise for Washington Heights and Inwood, said hundreds of local residents were concerned about the future of outdoor dining before blasting the city for its lack of enforcement.

“The city agency for enforcement […] has consistently refused to engage with community residents about their concerns around enforcement of open restaurant rules and regulations,” she said.

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