On Thursday afternoon, a U-Haul truck crashed into the outdoor dining setup at Il Violino, located at 180 Columbus Avenue at 68th Street.
A truck drove into the outdoor dining set up at Il Violino (68th and Columbus) on Thursday afternoon. Thankfully no injuries were reported. pic.twitter.com/NvSrnt7QvM
— I Love The Upper West Side (@iLoveTheUWS) July 23, 2021
We reached out to the restaurant and the NYPD, and thankfully no injuries were reported.
Il Violino’s outdoor cafe has become a popular neighborhood fixture for its seasonally-appropriate themes. This past winter, it made it onto our list of sweet holiday displays for this very Christmassy dining structure.
While outdoor dining has lifted the spirits of NYC since the onset of the pandemic, there are some safety concerns which have not gotten a huge amount of attention.
In an article written by our sponsors at Gray Law Firm, the attorneys mentioned that regulations “are concerned mostly with social distancing, disinfecting practices and personal protective equipment, workplace practices, hygiene, screening, etc., with nary a mention of how to manage the shared public space,” adding that there is a real “danger of a vehicle plowing into a restaurant’s on-street dining area” and that “most of [the] transient structures provide little or no actual barrier between diners and onrushing vehicles.”
This is not the first incident in which a vehicle crashed into a sidewalk cafe. In March, eight people were injured when a van crashed into a car, sending it into an outdoor dining setup on East 50th Street, ABC7 reported at the time.
In April, a driver fatally struck a person on a scooter before crashing into an outdoor cafe in Queens, also injuring a restaurant patron, the New York Post wrote at the time.
When we shared the video of the scene at Il Violino on Instagram, most people who responded expressed gratitude over the fact that no one was hurt, while sending positive wishes to the owners of the restaurant.
A handful of comments pointed blame towards the frequent reckless driving they see in this part of the neighborhood. One user said “people drive on Columbus around that area like it’s a nascar track,” while another user mentioned that this has actually happened before at the same restaurant.
When one user said “these things need to be taken down,” the comment was swiftly met with replies including “shut up” and “lame.”
This article rightly mentions the dangers of these “outdoor cafes” (I’m not convinced by that term) because trucks, private cars, cabs, etc., sometimes crash into them. It’s also important to note the dangers when there’s a bike lane in between the “outdoor cafe” and the pavement. About a week ago I saw a woman come VERY close to being hit by a cyclist. She never looked, just began stepping from the “outdoor cafe” right into the bike lane. I’m not advocating taking down all these structures, just noting the very real dangers.
You can’t protect against stupid. (Of course as we’re learning about with vaccinations). But is the danger REALLY any higher than a car crashing into a storefront or sidewalk cafe? The former happens with some frequency (not just in NYC).
BTW – always be extra careful around UHauls!!!
Cars and trucks murder over 200 pedestrians in NYC EVERY year. Interesting how Bob uses this story to show his unfounded bias against bikes. If we did not have so many cars lanes, we would not need to have bike lanes between restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
I think to make them permanent is insane. Sure give the restaurants time to recover but then see them go away. If they don’t go away I don’t think the city should be entitled to congestion pricing monies. Try going uptown on Amsterdam with street restaurants on both sides and delivery trucks on both sides. As more traffic comes back to the city and road rage takes over spells trouble.
This is not the first time a vehicle drove into this restaurant. It happened back in 2015 as well but nobody was hurt. Had there been an outdoor dining area back then, it would have been a different story.