NYC protesters rally in Greenwich Village against outdoor dining


Nearly 100 protesters rallied against outdoor dining sheds in Greenwich Village on Saturday, demanding the city remove the shanties they say have made their lives miserable.

The protesters, carrying signs that read “Open Restaurants Trash Our Streets” passed by dozens of huts on MacDougal and Bleecker Streets — some occupied by diners brunching on a freezing cold afternoon where temps hovered in the 20s.

Accompanied by musicians, they chanted “No more sheds!” as they made their way to a rally attended by some 85 people at Washington Square Park.

“The noise, the dirt, the rats — it shouldn’t happen on a residential street,” said Stuart Waldman, 80, a village resident and organizer of the protest. “Outside my home, on a given night, there are 15 to 75 people from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. basically partying. How is that a residential street?”

The Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy, the group which organized the protest, argued that the city is turning public streets and sidewalks over to private industry.

West Village residents fed up with outdoor dining sheds clogging their streets marched from Father Demo Square to Washington Square Park to voice their displeasure saturday afternoon.
West Village residents protesting against outdoor dining sheds march from Father Demo Square to Washington Square Park on Feb. 5, 2022.
William Farrington

The Open Restaurants program started as a temporary way to help eateries stay in business when COVID-19 curtailed indoor dining.

There are more than 12,000 restaurants participating now, and City Council is about to take up legislation to create a new permanent program. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. The city has said the program saved thousands of restaurant jobs.

Waldman said the setups were fine during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there was no reason for them now.

Some of the abandoned sheds have even become hovels for the homeless.

West Village residents
The protesters chanted “no more sheds!” as they made their way to Washington Square Park.
William Farrington

Robert Camacho, 60, a Bushwick resident who was at the protest, likened the structures to “building another house in front of your house.”

“The city can’t even control the noise inside these restaurants. You think they gonna control the noise outside?” said Camacho, who is retired.

Shannon Phipps, with the Berry Street Alliance in Brooklyn, said rats take over the sheds as soon as they close down.

“They’re climbing all over the chairs, tables and the floor. There’s poop everywhere. There’s urine everywhere,” she said.

West Village residents
Village residents say the sheds are making their lives miserable.
William Farrington

Christopher Marte, a City Council member who represents part of Greenwich Village, told the crowd at Washington Square Park that he was “optimistic” that fellow lawmakers were ready to listen to his concerns.

“Some of them don’t have 1,000 sheds in their district, which I have. Sometimes it works if it’s one restaurant every 10 blocks, but we have four outdoor sheds on one corner,” Marte said. “Last year, we could’ve had a catastrophe on Thompson Street where a fire truck couldn’t even open their doors. We have seniors who have to walk around the block to get on Access-A-Ride. This is about making a livable city.”

Outdoor Dining area being used as storage space outside of Piccola Cucina, 75 Thompson Street
The protesters want the city to remove the abandoned outdoor dining sheds.
William Farrington



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