Application Costs for NYC Outdoor Dining Become Clearer as Eric Adams Signs Bill

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There’s a little more clarity about what restaurants and bars can expect from the latest iteration of outdoor dining in New York City.

Two weeks after a bill allowing permanent outdoor dining was passed by the New York City Council, Mayor Eric Adams signed the legislation into law to allow eateries to serve on sidewalks year-round and on streets eight months of the year.

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The bill had many questioning the specifics of the rules — worried it would make outdoor dining unappetizing to eateries — and at least some of the costs became clear during the bill signing event in the Bronx on Wednesday.

Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi said the cost of the application would depend on the square footage of public space used for eating and drinking, as well as the location.

“The price per square foot will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood — it’s New York, location, location, location — so there will be a range between $5 and $6 for the sidewalk and $5 and $31 for the roadway,” Joshi said. 

Those below 125th Street in Manhattan will likely see the highest cost for a permit. How those prices may shift depending on location was not made immediately clear; the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), which will manage the program, has only just begun hashing out the details.

“You’re looking to date. You may drive by. You may see eye candy sitting down somewhere, you may want to park and come and slip them your number,” Adams said during the press conference. 

DOT has a 90-day deadline to finalize the rules and the pricing structure, and the program will start November 2024, as the bill sponsored by Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez required. 

But some of the rules baked into the legislation have raised red flags among the restaurant industry and lawmakers, namely that “streeteries” would need to be dismantled in the winter months. Some structures could be non-compliant with the new rules, costing restaurants money and discouraging participation in the program, Commercial Observer previously reported.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.