The Columbus Amsterdam Business Improvement District (BID) is excited to be bringing “Open Streets: Restaurants” to the Bloomingdale neighborhood for the largest operation of this program in the city thus far. Every Saturday starting from August 8, restaurants on Amsterdam Avenue between 97th and 110th Streets will be able to expand their outdoor dining into the street from 12pm to 9pm.
The thirteen blocks of Amsterdam Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic starting an hour before and ending an hour after this timeframe to allow for set-up and clean-up. During this period, buses will be rerouted to Broadway, and there will be a 15-foot emergency and bike lane down the center of Amsterdam with a 5 mph speed limit.
The Bloomingdale neighborhood is fortunate to be the home of many small, family-owned restaurants that have been offering a wide range of cuisines for generations. These small local restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic but have worked hard to serve the community consistently since March. The BID has been committed to supporting the hard work of these restaurants by publishing and updating the “Takeout and Delivery Guide” on the Bloomingdale Restaurants website to highlight the diverse culinary scene in the neighborhood.
Restaurants took the first step towards their recovery by offering outdoor sidewalk seating options, as permitted under the Phase Two guidelines of New York City’s reopening. They are crucial for the revitalization of the city’s economy and are working hard to keep New Yorkers safe as they reunite with friends and family.
However, it has not been easy to offer outdoor seating options. In addition to having to navigate complex guidelines and regulations, small restaurants often do not have a wide enough store frontage to offer more than a couple of seats outdoors. Additionally, many restaurants in the neighborhood have not been able to expand to the outdoor dining option because the limits imposed by bike lanes or bus stops did not provide adequate room for social distancing.
The Open Streets: Restaurants program offers a unique opportunity for all New Yorkers to discover the local restaurants that make the Bloomingdale neighborhood so special. With this program, the 33 restaurants that are currently open on Amsterdam Avenue can use the extra 20-25 feet of space to serve more customers and better protect community members and their staff by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.
The BID expects to keep this program running through October, with the possibility of expanding to Columbus Avenue so even more of the 86 restaurants in the neighborhood between 96th to 110th Streets can benefit.
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