Residents in parts of Long Island City and Sunnyside will now be able to dine al fresco.
On May 22, the City Council adopted the LIC-Sunnyside sidewalk cafés and bulk modification text amendment into legislation. Before this amendment, it was illegal to have outdoor cafés in those areas.
“It was really important for us to change those rules and to give restaurants and cafés that option, should they choose it,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
The amendment would change the zoning to include blocks generally between 2nd, 5th, 11th and 23rd Streets on the west, 37th Avenue on the north, Sunnyside Yards on the east, Borden Avenue on the south, and along Skillman Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets.
According to the Department of City Planning, this change in zoning will enliven the streetscapes and help bring in growing residential, employee, student and tourist populations out onto the streets.
“[Sidewalk cafes] provide a different kind of experience and there are people looking to stay outdoors and eat,” said Van Bramer. “They create traffic and life on our streets and we really want our commercial thoroughfares to be bustling. Not only is that profitable for local businesses but it makes our neighborhoods lively and safer places.”
Restaurants would have to apply to the City Department of Consumer Affairs for a sidewalk café permit.
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