Adams promises to get rid of “bug infestations” outdoors

Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday showed his appetite for destruction by striking an abandoned, urine-soaked outdoor food shed in midtown Manhattan and vowing that the buildings would be “restaurants, not restrooms.”

“The rot and disorder we are seeing at some of our locations is unacceptable,” the mayor said, announcing that 24 other sheds outside of the restaurants that have been there since the closure have recently been demolished. “If necessary, we will do what we are doing today and that is shutting it down.”

Introduced when the outbreak of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shut down indoor catering, some of the pervasive outdoor structures became polluted with garbage, rats and human excrement.

A Greenwich Village dining shed was even used by a couple for outdoor sex, with a horrified resident videotaping the encounter.

Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams announces a new multi-agency enforcement initiative focused on spotlighting open and active outdoor hospitality venues.

“We say no to rats, no to loitering, no to illegal activities and make sure that enforcement happens and that everything is done right,” Hizzoner said.

“Dozens of sheds” across the city are up for demolition, according to city officials – but Adams doubled down on his plan to continue allowing restaurants to convert parking lots into outdoor seating.

“I want to say it loud and clear,” he vowed. “Alfresco dining is here to stay.”

Tear down outside catering
Dozens of sheds are lined up for demolition across the city.

Several groups of city dwellers say otherwise and have sued to end al fresco dining altogether, arguing that the Temporary Open Restaurant program that spawned the sheds should not be continued in an emergency when the pandemic subsides.

Complaints about alfresco dining in the city rose 70% in the second quarter of this year from the first quarter as the weather warmed and more diners took advantage of the al fresco environment. However, restaurant owners claim the structures continue to boost their bottom line after providing a lifeline during the worst of the outbreak.

In addition to the 25 sheds already demolished, 37 other facilities have open subpoenas related to buildings deemed abandoned or excessively dirty.

Structures were removed at six locations each in Manhattan and Brooklyn, three in the Bronx and nine in Queens, officials said.

Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi said the city has targeted both abandoned sheds and those whose owners have refused to comply with city rules on cleanliness and safety.

Alfresco dining
The al fresco dining option allows restaurant owners to seat more diners and offset financial losses from the pandemic.
Christopher Sadowski

“These are things like signs of vermin infestation and they have egregious security breaches. These are things like blocking access to FDNY,” Joshi said.

“These are sheds that we have warned them on numerous occasions to comply, they do not comply and then get a notification that they will be removed.”

Joshi and Adams argued Thursday that the pending lawsuits are slowing the process of introducing improvements.

Alfresco dining
New York residents have threatened to sue outdoor restaurants in hopes of getting rid of the scales.
Gregory P. Mango

“There is a small minority who have filed lawsuits to stop this program. And unfortunately that has crippled our plans to create a permanent program,” said Joshi. “We are confident that we will win.”

But Michael Sussman, an attorney in one of the suits, said he thinks the mayor is scared.

“I absolutely think he’s concerned because he held a long press conference two weeks ago when we filed the summary lawsuit, and now we’re hearing he’s closing 25 sheds,” Sussman told the Post.

“It’s obvious to me that the city is aware that this is a disaster for the city.” Adams promises to get rid of “bug infestations” outdoors


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