The Blowback Blight And Anarchy From NYC’s Open Restaurants Law

New York City, New York

COVID-19’s impact on New York City has no doubt fundamentally changed the environment, landscape and cuture of this city. It’s why this nation of ours had to suddenly print trillions of dollars to keep it resembling an imitation of normal to get money in people’s pockets and keep most businesses solvent where before we used to print it to pay for regime change wars and to assure the biggest banks remain too big to fail. It was basically a big class action settlement for government malpractice of our leaders response to the virus (and clearly the manufacturing of it thanks to Dr. Anthony Fauci).  And when the stimulus cash arrived to NYC, one of the first things that got fed socialist moneyed resuscitation was to the restaurant industry.

Since eating indoors was still a major risk of contagion for months on end last year, City Council and Mayor de Blasio addressed the existential threat the virus had on the dining and drinking industry and started the Open Restaurants initiative which lifted restrictions and eased regulations for restaurants to build sheds on the street curbs so patrons can come back and dine again outside of their establishments. Despite usurping parking spaces from residents, these businesses were able to recoup some losses and were able to make money again. The city also integrated this program with the Open Streets initiative to “re-imagine” public streets initially centered on cycling and pedestrian commuting by evolving them to plazas with the intent to foster community activity and keeping vehicular traffic out (both initiatives annoyingly prodded by bike zealot/car abolitionist lobby Transportation Alternatives). With the sheds on the asphalt, restaurants were able to extend their businesses by placing tables on the street, enabling to serve more customers. At the time it was logical and necessary.

Even though this was enacted for emergency purposes to keep businesses thriving in a still near dead city (with more prodding from agent of the city TransAlt weaponizing this program to banish cars)  the City Council Cronies and The Blaz decided to make restaurant outdoor sheds permanent, which was buoyed by a bill written by the State Senate and signed by Mario’s Son Governor Cuomo. Now even though restaurants are under the regulatory purview of the Department of Health, the Blaz left the responsibility of monitoring the street sheds under the Department Of Buildings. If this isn’t bizarre enough, the Department of Transportation seems are wholly left out of this even though the streets are officially under their purview. And as expected with the Blaz and the Council Cronies, they conjure these laws without considering the ramifications of them as some restaurants and even non-food related establishments opportunistically took advantage of the bureaucratic fugazi of  NYC’s Open Restaurants and Streets policy.

This egregiousness came to prominence when a member of community group L.E.S. dwellers encountered a curbside shed going through a re-imagining development in process in the East Village, catching the restaurant adding a second level to their shed  parallel with first floor apartment windows above the establishment and close enough to touch the branches on the tree above.

What the actual fuck indeed, what’s even more insane is that this restaurant just recently put up their normal ground floor shed, or to be more apt shanty, even though indoor dining was permitted after the city officially opened up at the beginning of July.

Surprisingly this shanty got an immediate stop work order a day after it went viral, even warranting a faux outrage tweet by Council Crony Margaret Chin, even though her vote enabled these owners to build their leisure duplex. But this being NYC, there are others that are able to get away with flouting the rules with impunity, even though because of the emergency edict placed on open restaurants that gives them a pandemic loophole to build bigger and denser on public streets there practically aren’t any rules anymore.

Popular youtube personality computer repair guru and small business owner Louis Grossman found some more shanties while just strolling around town where he works and one of them had doors like in a saloon, as he pointed out the distinctions between a shed that was safe for pandemic dining and ones that were basically houses on the street with no proper circulation, which defeats the purpose of stopping the spread of COVID. Then he encountered probably the biggest freak violator of all, an open restaurant with an air conditioner.

If there is anything positive to say about this is that it looks more like a bungalow than a shanty with all the windows installed. But it still looks like a cabin because they didn’t even bother painting it and it’s sure as fuck not definitely not safe from the delta variant if people are dining there on a hot muggy afternoon or balmy evening since the contagion is trapped as people are sharing microbes while eating, drinking and talking in close proximity.

Watching that video would give the impression that it’s probably the tipping point or nadir of the open restaurant phenomenon and that the D.O.B. will stop by and tell the proprietor to take it down but you’d be wrong.  Because these AC equipped cabins have set off an open restaurant land grab wave.

Documented by the lifestyle news website Eater, many high end dining establishments in high destination areas in Manhattan seized the opportunity given to them and set up AC’s for their own shanties,as well as other fixtures and locking doors that resemble modern day cabins or even Fedders apartment buildings. But absolutely nothing can compare to what two restaurants did on the same block in the small enclave known as Korea Town in Midtown nestled between Madison Ave and Herald Square, for these open restaurant structures are not mere shanties, they are practically street curb condominiums. Here’s a place called Osamil…

Really don’t get why the windows are so small, but they apparently slide open, those doors look like they belong in a horse’s stable. But one things for sure, they made that solar powered parking meter absolutely useless.

Mosey on down the block and we probably have the city’s most egregious and heinous public street space monopolizer restaurant indoor shanty claimed by Take 31, which takes the city’s re-imagining shock doctrine open restaurants policy to another level.

Look at these doors and windows, how can you possibly breath let alone spread the delta variant…

In case there is any wonder how these 4 A.C.’s are being powered, get a load of the electrical hookup. Remember, the Department Of Buildings is in charge of regulating these things, doubtful if you can get away with this if you hooked up something similar from your house to your garage.

Apparently when they were building this aesthetics wasn’t even on the agenda or even architecture or carpentry, but making this shitpost into a veritable ice box was. They equipped this with FOUR HVAC units. Apparently this was made for two establishments judging by the outhouse that’s built in front of a small restaurant next door.

If the sign demanding proof of vaccination wasn’t ludicrous enough considering there isn’t one pasted on the elongated outhouse on the street, what’s even more deranged is that the shanty is just under 10 feet across a building under development with scaffolding and bollards on the street, making it very treacherous for driving and cycling commuting.

Since the current mayor de Blasio and the City Council cronies joined in solidarity to legitimize these shanties under the rubric of safety because of COVID and the delta variant and by extracting the authority of the Department of Transportation from regulating these , it had to come at the expense of the safety of vehicular, cycling and walking commuters and a brazen example of the second expense lies on Bleecker St. in Noho.

Despite the presence of a bike lane, the proprietors of this open restaurant shanty blocked half of it, which if a regular citizen driver or the NYPD did this it would get photographed and pilloried by bike zealot social media accounts and would get a $200 citation by a traffic constable in real life.

Although the barricades set up makes it city designated open street designed to ban cars, it doesn’t prevent drivers from accessing the open restaurant area turning from Mulberry St., making riding pass this shitpost set up a perilous risk.

And the thing that’s remarkable about bike propagandists like StreetsBlog NYC praising open restaurants to the skies is that even when they are not violating traffic laws, the roads still don’t have sufficient space to ride a bike by them and makes driving more perilous despite the precautions taken by restaurant owners to make their structures more visible (like a house on the street wouldn’t already do that)

Of course can’t leave out the frustrations of the pedestrian, with insufficient walking space as these shanties make commuting by them a human gauntlet with people milling around and waiters and busboys going back and forth serving people. Ultimately forcing pedestrians with no choice to walk in the streets in the driving and bike lanes.

Surely pedestrian gridlock is a daily issue by this restaurant/bar/nite club in South Richmond Hill that actually built a tunnel by their establishment.

And since they already have an LED display sign, they can probably scan EZ passes to go through it. Although prospective burglars sure will appreciate the easy lift provided by the roof inches away from the apartment in the mixed use building.

While this outdoor dining set up one a mile west is more sad than egregious, but still a brazen hazard that has the potential to cause a blazing one.

It can’t be stressed hard enough what damage this shanty is going to do if one of this restaurants neighbors houses goes on fire, or even their own business (unless that hole was put there for that reason) considering an incident where a mixed-use building got torched on Bleecker St. because the FDNY couldn’t get around a shanty in front of the restaurant where the fire started on the ground floor. And never mind how flammable this and every other wooden shanty in NYC is vulnerable to any random kindling or arson attempt.

But what makes this restaurant more sad about it’s flaunting of fire codes is that it doesn’t have much of a choice with Bill de Blasio’s utterly fascist and unscientific vaccine mandate about to be unleashed on city establishments and venues, where the only way to keep non-vaccinated residents as customers is to keep them outside.

And if there is a shanty that’s a tinderbox waiting to explode, it’s got to be the one belonging to celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s five star Michelen steakhouse restaurant in Murray Hill. A set up so ostentatious it’s the Hamptons Mansion of open restaurant shanties in NYC.

To be fair, maybe Wolfie’s shanty resembles more like a Super 8 motel going by all these doors and key locks.

Looks like somebody tried to pick this one. Gotta admit that this shanty looks more safer and pleasing than the city’s homeless shelters.

What makes this the most special of open restaurant shanties is that it’s built on a steep incline with traffic going south. which means there are probably steps inside there. While it doesn’t have energy sucking HVAC’s it does appear to have what looks like an air purifier releasing whatever delta variant strains the customers are dispensing inside and releasing the contagion into the ether and onto the public. Which makes a mockery of the vaccine mandate rules by conveying this as a safe outdoor venue for microbe aerosol dispensing dining and nightlife leisure activities.

Besides the obvious haste to put these curbside bungalows up in order to opportunistically take advantage of the City Council and current Mayor’s Open Restaurant law, judging by the the exposed wood paneled wall entirely flushed against the 33rd St. Station stairwell, what’s curious is how to patrons get served inside that shanty?

Which means waitstaff and bussers have to maneuver through passerby with orders for the clientele and to clean up after them, causing more pedestrian gridlock on the sidewalk and from commuters exiting and entering the stairwell at the downtown staircase of the 33rd St. Station.

And get a load of this cable going into the restaurant. It’s only about 7 1/2 feet off the ground. It really doesn’t matter whether its a five star joint, these shanties are cheap and ugly and still vulnerable to cause contagion spread because of the indoor environment in addition to being a blatant electrical fire hazard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ironic thing about these shanties which purport to bring people and vibrancy back to city streets and also add a touch of European savoir faire while keeping more cars off the street in order to improve the environment, it’s ultimately done the exact opposite and has brought down the quality of life and environment in neighborhoods. Besides the horrendous site of mountains of garbage piled up against the structures and inside them and providing convenient shelter for a new generation of rats to feed and breed in them, these filthy shanties have brought forward a disturbing new trend of high end blight of rampant graffiti wholly comparable but more artless than the aerosol paint bombings of subway trains in the Bad Old Days in the 70’s-80’s. Which perfectly falls in line with the New Bad Days era of the last 5 years.

It’s really a wonder why anyone would even eat and drink in these shacks, but it’s ok because of emergency pandemic exemptions, the NYC Department Of Health doesn’t bother checking them out either. Which makes those restaurant grade posters on the windows moot since the DOH is not responsible to regulate the shanties because it’s the Department of Buildings role.

Some of these are also zombie shanties from restaurants that went out of business.

Although there are absolutely no rules about the open restaurants, some establishments that took advantage of the idiotic law don’t actually seem to serve food at all. Like the Basquiat gallery here, where there are clearly no restaurants in sight.

And this other artful shanty which is in front of a hookah lounge.

This one has valet parking…

But some of these non-restaurant establishments probably serve liquor, making them able to take advantage of the city’s generous loopholes, like this greenhouse in front of this nite club. Complete with HVAC and door and lock. Also defeating the purpose of preventing virus contagion.

And to think Transportation Alternatives declares that sights like this should be normal as their agitprop allies Streetsblog NYC whinnies about how these are better for the environment than the existence of cars and traffic. This shanty recently developed by a legendary lunchonette in the West Village instantly disproves their theories, which basically turns a tree into a periscope. With some very apt commentary graffiti pointing out the restaurants man made climate violation.

What Transportation Taliban and Bike Blog and their urbanist hives on social media make clear is how unconscious they are about open restaurants/streets and how neoliberal their agenda is because the shanties and barricades act as violent architecture against cars in the hopes to “induce demand” in personal vehicle commuting by frustrating drivers to forsake their cars. All in the hopes for the total banishment of the vehicle.

One thing’s overwhelmingly conclusive about the open streets/open restaurants is that because of the overzealous attention and prioritization to approve the open streets/open restaurants law for permanency, the NYC Council Cronies and de Blasio did this with absolutely no consideration for the residents at all and waited over a month to even announce any regulations for them, which according to the mayor’s office you tube channel have broken every rule that is still waiting to be written on the books. Despite all excuses of trying to govern and keep the city’s economy solvent during a pandemic, these unsightly space hogging and citizen obstructing shanties are the result of city planning designed by a kakistrocacy consisting of people disconnected from their constituents and real life.

And they will be literally disconnected in a few months because the idiot mayor and most of the idiot council cronies are term limited and won’t be around to see this open restaurants fugazi exacerbate. Thanks to the leniency and the steady presence of the more infectious delta variant, these restaurants, especially the high end expensive restaurants, will only build bigger and bigger.

Which will lead to perilous conditions for all commuters on wheels and foot, more eyesore blight, filth, garbage and rats on the streets. As long as the pandemic continues and continues to get exploited by the ruling class and the hospitality industry, the blowback and anarchy, like the shanties, will build bigger and badder and stinkier and fuglier.

 

 

 

 

 

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