NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city’s plan to make outdoor dining permanent is meeting a lot of resistance from local residents.
They say noise, rats and lack of space are just some of the problems, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.
Residents in the West Village sounded off to the community board that is tasked with providing input on what will be the regulations for the new law. They said they want to support their local businesses, but when the pandemic is over the outdoor dining structures should be gone, too.
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The structures have been a lifesaver for restaurants. They are so popular, the city is making the pandemic additions permanent.
But some residents say they have become a nuisance.
“These sheds are creating a vermin habitat like we’ve never seen before,” Lee Arntzen said.
“Noise comes with this and it shouldn’t be on this street, certainly not on a narrow residential street,” Stu Waldman said.
“It’s like a bandshell pointing at your bedroom. That’s the kind of noise,” Leslie Clark added.
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Cellphone video shows how the neighborhood transforms, especially on the weekends — music blasting as large crowds dance outside, structures leaving little room to walk on the sidewalk, and the mounds of trash left behind that residents say attract rats.
“I have to walk on the subway grates and with my cane it makes me fearful,” Dorothy Green said.
In a statement, the mayor’s office said in part, “Outdoor dining saved 100,000 jobs. A stance against outdoor dining is a stance against this city’s recovery. It’s here to stay.”
That’s a sentiment city leaders tried to reinforce during Monday’s presentation to Community Board 2.
“The program has been a massive success and in April the City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill to make it permanent,” the Department of Transportation’s Judy Chang said to boos from the crowd.
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Residents pushed back, as they packed the meeting.
While outdoor dining may work in other areas, they say the density in the West Village has changed their quality of life.
“It should not be what’s good for this area is the same as for the Upper East Side or Upper West Side. We cannot sustain what’s going on here,” Kathy Arntzen said.
The current measures will stay in place until next year. In the meantime, the city will figure out the details for a more permanent option.