Intro Chinatown

The Future of Outdoor Dining in New York City

presented by the Alfresco NYC Coalition, November 2022

The Alfresco NYC coalition, in collaboration with designers, advocates, and public realm stakeholders across the City, present recommendations to inform the creation of a permanent Open Restaurants program that supports small businesses, activates vibrant street life, and benefits all New Yorkers.
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Emergence of Open Restaurants

Open Restaurants Timeline

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Future Streets for Car Free Earth Day” by American Institute of Architects with ASLA and APA. Car Free Earth Day 2019: Broadway, Manhattan. Image: NYC DOT

What Does the Future Look Like?

Alfresco NYC Principles

Outdoor Dining Policy Recommendations

Rec 1 Pearl Street by DUMBO BID

Pearl Street transition from parking to permanent plaza from 2007 to 2023. Image: NYC DOT

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DOT’s Streets Plan identifies street typologies to guide street design projects. Image: NYC DOT NYC Streets Plan 2021

Rec 3 Spaces as places Manual from San Diego Alfresco Platform design Rec 3 Barrier with Trash

Canopy studies developed during a series of design workshops coordinated by the AIA NYC. Images: American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York + Re-Ply Guideline Recommendations

Rec 4 Chelsea Market

Setups have different levels of complexity and approval processes should be responsive to such differences. Image: Chelsea Market via Alfresco Awards

Rec 5 31st Ave

Diverse programming at 31st Avenue in Astoria. Image: 31st Avenue Open Street

Open Restaurants By borough

Prior to the emergency program only 1,200 restaurants, primarily in Manhattan, participated in the Sidewalk Cafe program. This graph shows increase in participation and distribution of Open Restaurants by borough on November 11th of 2022. Chart: NYC DOT Open Restaurants

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Mayor Eric Adams knocks down an abandoned structure as part of his official announcement to remove 24 neglected structures. We need clear guidelines that are not capriciously enforced” —Yann, restaurant owner at Zoning Resolution for Sidewalk Cafe (February, 2022). Image:, Office of the Mayor

Rec 8 Vanderbilt and DOT

Open Restaurant corridors such as Vanderbilt Avenue are an example of collaboration between the city and organized neighbors. Image: Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Rec 9 The Hort Plaza Partnership

A member of The Hort GreenTeam at Corona Plaza. Image: Neighborhood Plaza Partnership via Urban Omnibus

Rec 10 Milano Rec 10 ADA accesibility by Re ply Rec 10 Accesible Platform by AIA 01
Rec 11 Sidewalk Extension 01

The city of San Diego’s active sidewalks program creates additional pedestrian space on narrow sidewalks for active uses. Image: City of San Diego Spaces as Places Design Manual

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Furniture and public amenities should be moved off of the sidewalks and into the right-of-way, allowing access and not impeding pedestrian mobility. Image: NYC DOT

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Proposal to redesign parking lanes on Smith Street, Brooklyn. Image: Marc Wouters Studio Outdoor Dining


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Alfresco NYC’s outdoor dining press analysis from November 2021 to July 2022


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Alfresco NYC would like to thank the following people and groups for their knowledge, time, and insights:

Special Thanks to AIA New York's Open Restaurants Innovation Program