Outdoor Dining Will Continue In the Winter and Beyond; Heat Lamps Allowed Too


Photo by Emily Yourman.

Mayor de Blasio said the city will allow restaurants to set up seating outside year-round, and the policy will continue indefinitely. De Blasio told WNYC host Brian Lehrer outdoor dining will be “permanent and year-round” on Friday, cheering advocates for the city’s restaurants.

A manager at Serafina on 77th Street and Broadway, for instance, told CBS this week that the restaurant was waiting for approval from the city on heat lamps. Without them, the restaurant was suffering.

AnnaMaria Matteis, manager at Serafina on the Upper West Side, said she could solve chilly diners’ problems immediately with heat lamps, but she says the city has yet to provide clear guidelines on outdoor heating.

Matteis said it’s costing her customers.

“We have so many reservations that called and said tonight is going to be too cold, and they cancel,” Matteis said.

Electric heat lamps will be allowed on the sidewalk and street but gas heat will only be allowed on the sidewalk, Gothamist reports.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance, which advocates for restaurants and hotels, called outdoor dining “a critical lifeline for thousands of small businesses and jobs throughout the five boroughs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

FOOD, NEWS | 26 comments | permalink
    1. Rich says:

      I wonder how this is going to work…I smell lawsuits and even fires in the future

    2. anon says:

      At some point life will get back to normal is and the lack of parking spaces will be a problem

      • UWS78 says:

        As someone who has been keeping a car in the city during covid, every parking space eliminated is a step in the right direction. Ultimately we should be pushing towards eliminating private car usage in Manhattan entirely as a long term goal. In the interim, giving public space back to restaurants that serve the public instead of for private car storage is clearly a net positive. It’s also not even that many spaces on the UWS as there are almost no restaurants on cross streets. Hopefully the next step is resident only parking permits as a bridge to TLC plates, commercial vehicles, and busses only in the long run.

        • anon says:

          This is silly. You can’t eliminate private cars in Manhattan. If I want to go away for the weekend, take the kids to their sports games, visit my parents do you propose I take a train to NJ and then rent a car? Or could I rent a car in Manhattan but not own a car?

      • Paul says:

        The beauty of the use of the commercial streets is in the fact that Covid made the metered spots useless otherwise. Those spaces were empty.
        We’re not getting back to normal for at least a year.

        But when we do and restaurants return to full indoor dining, with groups of patrons that frequently include out of area residents visiting their local friends and family, they are likely to want the parking to be available.

        For now and through next summer this is fine. “Permanent” may not be such a great idea.

    3. Al Fresco says:

      A bright spot in this otherwise dismal year. Love the creativity and innovative solutions of these restaurateurs. All seasons al fresco!

      Now if only we could get rid of the scaffolding.

    4. What say you? says:

      Heat lamp or no, not sure I’ll be availing myself of this in January, but I suppose everybody’s different.

    5. Jean Luke says:

      This is great news. The outdoor dining is a real lifeline to NYC restaurants and also great for people who like to dine out. I hope owners will install better looking outdoor spaces. Most of them look so ramshackle and cheap. The new outdoor shed by the former Guyers looks great.

    6. Sam Koo says:

      I’m so proud of Hizzoner.
      Now more people of the world will come to NY instead of going to Paris. One thing missing was outdoor dining.
      Thank you.

      • Pepper says:

        Trust me…with all the negative press New York has been getting internationally, no one wants to come here. Outdoor dining in the winter is not going to change that.

    7. Great idea! At least worth a try.

    8. RobbieTheK says:

      Alas kerosene lamps are still not permitted and all are in short supply https://twitter.com/nycjim/status/1309486220716670977?s=19

    9. Craig says:

      I see the sale of hot chocolate soaring this winter

    10. Charlie says:

      I predict a new dining craze focused on foods that do not need to be served hot. Think of a menu featuring borschts, tartares, ceviches and sashimi. And some nice raw vegetables.

      • nemo paradise says:

        Prix fix menu at the Heat Lamp Cafe:

        Iceberg lettuce salad
        Vichyssoise
        Tuna carpaccio
        Steak Tartare
        Baked Alaska/Assorted sorbets

        Complimentary frozen Margarita

    11. js says:

      This will help restaurants that are popular and well-situated. But lots of places are not.
      (Places popular with younger affluent – like Jacob’s Pickle or the chain Bluestone Lane – seem to be doing fine.) A tax reduction would be more equitable.

      And this won’t help local stores.
      Between Covid, Amazon and the expanding Target, it looks like local stores will be annihilated.

      Strangely, there are a bunch of new nail salons….

    12. Lynn Shardlow says:

      Just in Time
      Thank you
      Brilliant…

    13. Violation enforcement says:

      What’s with the store “Bagels and Company“ at 79th St. and Amsterdam Avenue with all the seating and tables all so close together aren’t they supposed to be 6 feet apart‼️😷

    14. Jazzy Jonah says:

      Not sure how this is gonna work out, but moreover we will see how it goes. It will definitely worth a try.

    15. Roger K says:

      It’s good for businesses but some restaurants are definitely taking advantage of it all. Tables too close together, acting like they own the sidewalks and not caring about their neighbors who don’t want to hear their noise and music.

    16. G says:

      Sidewalk dining or shuttered dark restaurants? I’ll take the former.

    17. Michael Palmer says:

      I was told that Propane Heat lamps are not allowed in NYC on sidewalks or streets. As far as electric heat lamps are concerned the electric conduit will need to be run above ground in order for it to be cost affective,