Providing safe dining
Outdoor dining pavilions, often temporary, located on public thoroughfares. Built with mostly short-lived materials such as plywood, wood framing, or inflatable plastic.
We’ve observed three distinct subspecies and variations which are important to call out:
- S. strata unum
- S. strata pariēs
Edge wall pavilion
- S. strata domos
Generally boxy in appearance, but can be composed of multiple structures, the outdoor dining area has a rain screen, protective bollards, and chairs & tables inside.
- Single pavilion (S. strata unum)
Composed of a single continuous pavilion, often a simple shed or gable roof
- Edge wall pavilion (S. strata pariēs)
Composed of low walls at the perimeter, often planters
- Multiple pavilions (S. strata domos)
Composed of smaller multiples of the same pavilion, such as bubbles or yurts.
Examples: Outdoor Dining Yurts
Primarily curbside, on both the sidewalk and roadway. On both primary and secondary streets.
Throughout the five boroughs.
COVID-19 dealt a blow to humanity in many ways, and in New York City, restaurants in particular. The Outdoor Dining Program was conceived by the New York City Department of Transportation as a safe way for people to support local restaurants. These outdoor dining pavilions are generally on the sidewalk or in the parking lane directly across from the restaurant. The NYC Open Restaurant program is only for food establishments seeking permission to place outdoor seating in front of their establishment on the sidewalk and/or roadway. Check out all the NYC Open Restaurants on the map and dashboard.
There are two similar but distinct regulations for restaurants providing outdoor dining on the sidewalk or on the street. Structures, seating and heating elements are required for both, but on roadways special regulations on Roadway Barriers, and FDNY required materials, and when not in use the tables and chairs must be removed or secured in place when not in operation.
Undoubtably all of this temporary construction has created additional carbon emissions and the restaurant’s individual embodied energy use is higher due to both the structure built and any heating elements employed. But this must be balanced by the fact that private automobiles (which get to park for free on the street) are removed from the street. The substitution of a lower-embodied energy item such as outdoor dining which replaces a heavy carbon and embodied energy activity, and a better use of finite public space is a net positive.
This shows that we can divide and apportion our finite street space in a way which allows fuller use and utility, and still allow movement of people on the right-of-way.
We believe Open Restaurants and the companion program NYC Open Streets needs to become a permanent part of the street life, not just a temporary response to the pandemic.
- New York City Open Restaurants guidelines
- NYC Open Restaurants map and dashboard
- NYC Open Restaurants Brochure (download and print)
- Design Corps is Connecting Open Restaurants with Free Designers & Architects to Help Design Outdoor Dining
- NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide