The Council voted on zoning text changes to remove restrictions that previously excluded outer-borough restaurants from having sidewalk cafes

City Hall, NY – The New York City Council today voted on zoning changes to allow future outdoor dining in communities that have long been excluded from having sidewalk cafes. The changes are the first step in the City’s effort to create a permanent outdoor dining program that is better organized and balances the various considerations of neighborhoods.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City established a temporary Open Restaurants program via emergency executive order. It allowed restaurants to more easily operate sidewalk and/or roadway cafes next to their premises, including in areas of the City that had long been restricted from such opportunities. The program proved to be a lifeline for restaurants citywide, as indoor dining limitations severely reduced their operations.

Under the current zoning text, sidewalk cafes are only allowed in certain zoning districts, most of which are in Manhattan. The emergency executive order only established a temporary program for restaurants in other zoning districts, which last year brought up proposals for a citywide zoning text amendment to remove these geographic restrictions. The Council vote is a step towards establishing a local law to create a more equitable, permanent and better regulated outdoor dining program, informed by all New Yorkers.

“The temporary Open Restaurants program was established at the height of the pandemic by emergency order and provided a critical lifeline to restaurants throughout the city, saving small businesses and jobs,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “As our city seeks to recover, this zoning change is the first step in creating a permanent program that is better organized and regulated, more equitable, and balances the health of our restaurants with the needs of local neighborhoods. This will require feedback and input from various stakeholders, which we will continue to gather over the coming weeks and months. I thank Chair Salamanca, Chair Riley, and Chair Velázquez for their hard work on this zoning resolution, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and New Yorkers on this important program.”

“As the city navigates its future in a post-pandemic world, we must recognize the successes of programs like open restaurants that had a tremendous impact in reviving the hospitality industry while saving thousands of local jobs in the process,” stated Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Chair of the Committee on Land Use. “Now that we have approved the zoning changes that will pave the way for a permanent outdoor dining program, we must use the valuable feedback we received from New Yorkers at our Land Use hearing to craft legislation that balances the needs of all stakeholders. I look forward to working with Speaker Adams, the Mayor’s Office, Council Member Velázquez and our colleagues to pass this meaningful piece of legislation.”

“The zoning that is in place today doesn’t allow sidewalk dining in vast stretches of our City,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley, Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.  “Going forward, it is important that we create a program that accommodates the needs of all stakeholders. Together, the New York City Council will continue to support restaurant owners and employees who depend on these businesses to support their families while addressing key community concerns that maintain the quality of life and character of our community. I look forward to working with the Speaker, my colleagues, my community, and the Mayor’s team to get this program right.”

“Today is a great first step as we continue to find a more permanent solution for Outdoor Dining in New York City,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection. “Since becoming the Chair of the Consumer Affairs & Worker Protection Committee, I have said we are not seeking perfection but participation and partnership, today’s vote feels like the first step of progress in finding that solution. I look forward to continuing to work with Speaker Adams, Council Members, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, community groups and all stakeholders to find a resolution.”

The Council also voted on several land use items, and to provide advice and consent on two nominees, including the New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner and Corporation Counsel.


Open Restaurants Zoning Text Amendment – The Department of City Planning (DCP) and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), pursuant to Section 201 of the New York City Charter, proposed an amendment of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, removing Article I, Chapter 4 (Sidewalk Cafe Regulations) and modifying related sections. The proposed zoning text amendment would remove the requirement for sidewalk cafés to only be located in certain zoning districts and facilitate implementation of a permanent open restaurants program following authorizing legislation by the City Council and subsequent rulemaking by a designated agency. The Council will modify this application to remove the Department of Transportation as the designated agency for rulemaking and implementation of the permanent open restaurants program and modify requirements relating to serving customers outside a building from inside a restaurant to also make them contingent on authorizing legislation by the Council. A bill for a permanent program was introduced and heard jointly with the text amendment, but is still being negotiated.

NYPD Bronx Special Victims Services – New York City Police Department (NYPD) & New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) seeks to select and acquire a site for a new NYPD Bronx Special Victims Services facility, which would be relocated from its current location at 1086 Simpson Street to 188 West 230th Street in the Bronx in Community District 8. These actions will allow the NYPD to build out a new facility which will include 20,165-gross square feet office space consisting of approximately thirty-nine workstations, five offices and operational space including interview rooms, a holding cell, locker rooms, and interrogation rooms. There will also be separate entrances and waiting rooms for victims and suspects.  The new facility will also provide services not, present in the existing facility such as a space for personnel from the District Attorney’s office, Safe Horizons, and Child Advocacy Centers (CACs).  Parking will be provided for 20 vehicles in the existing unenclosed surface accessory parking lot, which will be dedicated exclusively to NYPD fleet, personal, and authorized vehicles. Approximately ten of the spaces will be reserved for NYPD Bronx SVS vehicles with the remaining spaces reserved for NYPD employees and other services, in Council Member Pierina Ana Sanchez’s district.

200 Madison Avenue First Floor Interior – The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of this Warren and Wetmore building, one of New York City’s leading architectural firms in the early 20th century.  The 200 Madison Avenue first floor lobby interior is one of their best –preserved first floor lobby interiors, appearing much as it did when the building opened in 1926, in Majority Leader Keith Powers’ district.

749 Van Sinderen Avenue Rezoning – ENY Community Residences LLC, seeks a proposed zoning map amendment to rezone a portion of the east side of Van Sinderen Avenue between New Lots Avenue and Linden Boulevard from M1-1 to C4-4L and related zoning text amendment to designate a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area in Appendix F of the Zoning Resolution (Options 1 and 2). These actions would facilitate the development of a new nine-story mixed-use commercial and residential building with 119 housing units which will be affordable. The council will be modifying the MIH option to strike Option 2 and add the deep affordability option, in council member Charles Barron’s district.

99-07 Astoria Boulevard Commercial Overlay – 99-20 Realty Corp., requests a zoning map amendment to map a C2-3 commercial overlay on an existing R3-2 zoning district on a portion of block in the East Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens Community District 3. These actions would facilitate the development of a one-story and cellar retail building. The development would have multiple retail stores with entrances along Astoria Boulevard, and accessory storage in the cellar, in Council Member Francisco Moya’s district.

2892 Nostrand Avenue Rezoning – Mikerose Realty, Inc., is requesting a zoning map change from R3-2 to R7A/C2-4; from R3-2 to R6B/C2-4; and from R3-2 to R7A; and related zoning text amendment to designate the area as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area (MIH) Option 1 and Option 2. These actions would facilitate an 8-story mixed-use building with 51 dwellings units including; 13 permanently affordable units with commercial uses on the ground floor and community facility uses on the second floor. There will also be 56 accessory parking spaces and 41 bicycle spaces for residential and commercial use. The council will be modifying the MIH option to strike Option 2 and add the deep affordability option, in Council Member Farah Louis’ district.   

2134 Coyle Street Rezoning – Coyle Properties LLC, is requesting zoning map amendment to change the existing R4/C1-2 zoning district to R6A/C2-4 district and a text amendment to map a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area Options 1 and 2. These actions would facilitate a new 5-story mixed-use commercial and residential building with a gym. It will include 148 housing units, 45 units will be affordable and 195 accessory off-street parking spaces. The applicant proposes to maintain the portion of the existing building located on the southern 106 foot portion of the development site which houses the existing Dollar Tree store. The council will be modifying the MIH option to strike Option 2 and add the deep affordability option, in Council Member Mercedes Narcisse’s district.   


Communication from the Mayor submitting the name of Jocelyn Strauber for appointment as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation – Ms. Strauber previously worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she held numerous roles including co-chief of the Criminal Division’s Terrorism & International Narcotics Unit. She has also been a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, working on criminal and civil cases. Earlier in her career, Strauber clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, and clerked for the Hon. A. Raymond Randolph in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Strauber earned her B.S. from Brown University and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

Communication from the Mayor submitting the name of Judge Sylvia Hinds-Radix for appointment as Corporation Counsel – Judge Hinds-Radix most recently served as an Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department since her appointment in 2012, and in 2020 was designated a member of the New York State Constitutional Bench. Prior to her appointment to the Appellate Division, Hinds-Radix served as Administrative Judge for Civil Matters in the Second Judicial District for three and a half years and was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County in November of 2004, serving as a New York City Civil Court Judge from 2002 through 2004. Her legal career began at District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services. Hinds-Radix earned a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters from Long Island University, and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. She was born in Barbados and will be the first Caribbean-born woman to serve as Corporation Counsel in New York City’s history.