Mayor Adams Launches Dining Out NYC Portal For Outdoor Dining Program Applications

March 5, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today opened applications for restaurants to apply for and participate in Dining Out NYC — the city’s permanent outdoor dining program.

The online application portal will serve as an easy access point for restaurants to apply to participate in the program, understand the guidelines that the program establishes, and download sample blueprints from the Dining Out NYC Set-Up Menu for how an outdoor setup will need to look. 

Dining Out NYC represents one of the most significant efforts of the last decade to reimagine the city’s streetscape by creating vibrant public spaces that improve quality of life for New Yorkers while simultaneously continuing to accelerate the city’s economic recovery by supporting workers and small restaurant owners. The new program draws on lessons learned from the temporary outdoor dining program created during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saved 100,000 jobs across the city but led to quality-of-life issues as a subset of restaurant owners were unable to maintain loosely-regulated outdoor dining setups. 

“We’re getting outdoor dining right, getting sheds down, getting trash off our streets, and fundamentally changing what it feels like to be outside in New York City,” said Mayor Adams. “The portal we’re opening today will make it easy for restaurants to participate in Dining Out NYC, build setups that work for diners, owners, neighbors, and our city, and continue to hire workers and serve satisfied customers. We’ve locked in the best parts of the pandemic program and done away with the worst, and I can’t wait to dine out this summer!”  

“New Yorkers vote with their feet — outdoor dining has been a runaway success,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Now, it’s time to formalize the program and do away with the negatives. The nation’s largest permanent outdoor dining program will have all the fun but with more consistency, cleanliness, and clear sight lines for all who use our streets.” 

“The launch of the Dining Out NYC Portal and Set-Up Menu marks a significant milestone, bringing us one step closer to full implementation of the nation’s largest permanent outdoor dining program on city streets by the summer of 2024,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “I am looking forward to seeing businesses across our city apply for the program and adhering to the new rules and regulations. This will enhance access to outdoor dining that is safe, clean, and rat-free in all five boroughs.” 

“The old dining program had NO requirement to clean around the structures, which made the areas around them DIS-GUS-TING,” said New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch. “The fact that these rules correct that absurdity is a win for all New Yorkers in and of itself.”  

“Ensuring that our city streets remain clean is critical to diners’ enjoyment of new outdoor spaces in every community,” said Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “The new Dining Out NYC Portal represents an exciting step forward in our ability to serve the businesses we rely on to provide expanded choice to New Yorkers so they may access the healthy, culturally relevant food they want wherever they may want it.”  

“Sign up, sign up, wherever you are,” said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. ”New Yorkers love outdoor dining. With our new Set-Up Menu, clear rules, and a landing page for restaurants, we’ve done everything we can to make signing up for the nation’s largest permanent outdoor dining program a piece of cake. We are here to help you build a safe, clean, and beautiful set up for your restaurant as we deliver an al fresco landscape to rival any European city.” 

“Dining Out NYC not only revitalizes New York City’s streetscape but also fosters economic growth while supporting restaurants and their workers,” said “New” New York Executive Director B.J. Jones. “The Adams administration is facilitating this exciting program with a user-friendly online portal and helpful guidance to make the largest outdoor dining program in the country a reality.” 

“We’re taking another concrete step in making our city streets better for New Yorkers and worse for rats,” said Citywide Director of Rodent Mitigation Kathy Corradi. “The Dining Out NYC program incorporates both the design and management elements that support a rat-free outdoor dining program, and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition.” 

User-Friendly Application Portal Opens 

Today, the administration launched a user-friendly online portal to streamline the application process for restaurants to participate in Dining Out NYC. A restaurant currently participating in the temporary program must apply to be a part of the permanent program by August 3, 2024 to continue operating throughout the approval process. Restaurants participating in the temporary program that do not apply by August 3 must remove their current outdoor dining setups. 

Through an extensive outreach campaign, DOT is notifying all restaurants currently participating in the temporary program to submit applications through the online portal for the permanent program. All restaurants, even those that did not participate in the temporary program, are welcome to apply for Dining Out NYC. A restaurant’s outdoor dining setup must comply with the program’s design requirements within 30 days of their application approval. On this timeline, the first approved Dining Out NYC setups will hit New York City streets in the summer of 2024. 

The Set-Up Menu: Accessible Design Guidelines and Sample Blueprints 

The Dining Out NYC Set-Up Menu will serve as a valuable resource for restaurants, offering guidance on outdoor dining regulations and blueprints for setup options. Under Dining Out NYC, outdoor dining setups will use lightweight materials that are easily movable and visible on the street, and the setups will preserve clear paths on sidewalks and emergency roadway lanes, as well as continue to provide accessibility for people with physical disabilities. Restaurants will secure tables, chairs, and other furnishings within their setups during non-operating hours. The setups themselves will include anti-rat mitigations and will be able to withstand inclement weather. 

In conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the city retained WXY, a planning, urban design and architecture studio, and SITU, a research, design and fabrication firm, to develop four prototype roadway cafe setups. Each prototype is tailored to a different diverse street context and showcases the envisioned aesthetic of Dining Out NYC. The Dining Out NYC Set-Up Menu outlines best practices utilized by the different prototypes, and the plans for each prototype are available for download.  

Corner Setup 

Sample corner roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT 

The corner setup showcased includes an aluminum barrier with marine plywood sheathing, an aluminum floor structure with wood paver infills, an overhead covering with wood posts and fabric canopy, string lighting overhead, rechargeable table lights, a storage bench, and removable panels.  

Mid-Block Setup 

Sample mid-block roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT  

The mid-block setup showcased includes an aluminum barrier with marine plywood sheathing, an aluminum floor structure, a rigid overhead canopy made with aluminum and rigid polycarbonate panels, an electrical connection to the restaurant to support a fan, table lights, screening wood slats panels, and integrated bench seating to save space.  

Floating Parking Lane Setup 

Sample roadway setup in a floating parking lane for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT  

The floating parking lane setup showcased includes a barrier with marine plywood cladding; an aluminum floor structure with marine plywood tiles and a removable, rubber accessibility ramp; a rigid overhead canopy made of aluminum and vestibule panel covering; planters for greenery throughout; a guard made of vestibule panels; and chain link enclosure.  

Steep Street Setup 

Sample steep-street roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT  

The steep street setup showcased includes an aluminum barrier with sheet metal cladding, a perforated square steel tubing floor structure with floorboards, a metal accessibility ramp and steps, an overhead canopy with an aluminum structure and retractable fabric, battery-operated table lights, planters for greenery, and integrated bench seating to save space. 

“Government works best when it is open and accessible to the people,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Today, we slash red tape for our restaurant owners with the launch of the Dining Out NYC application portal. Restaurant owners will have at their fingertips all the information they need to obtain permission for a dining shed that is compliant. Outdoor dining has been one of the most innovative reimaginings of our streetscape, acting as a lifeline at the height of the pandemic and continuing to enjoy wide popularity. Our new portal will make it easier than ever for our small business owners to apply, once again demonstrating Mayor Adams’ commitment to an efficient government that delivers what we need in a New York minute.” 

“It’s the big day so many people have been anticipating, when restaurants may begin applying for the new Dining Out NYC program and transition out of the pandemic-era system that was critical in saving thousands of restaurants and more than 100,000 jobs across the five boroughs,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “We commend and congratulate Mayor Adams, the DOT team, and the administration on the launch of the online portal that will allow restaurants to begin submitting applications to participate in the future of alfresco dining.” 

“Ensuring that businesses are able to engage in the outdoor dining program easily has been a critical part of our advocacy for the permanent program,” said Maulin Mehta, New York director, Regional Plan Association. ”As we transition away from the temporary program, effort must be made to ensure businesses understand their design and maintenance responsibilities. We applaud Mayor Adams, Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu, DOT, and everyone that has worked to bring this portal to life. A centralized system to educate businesses and help them apply is necessary to ensure we continue to build an equitable program to help small businesses across the city.”  

“Dining Out NYC is the culmination of design experts, small business owners, and everyday New Yorkers weighing in to create a safe and sustainable outdoor dining program that will continue to be successful in the long-term,” said Matthew Clarke, executive director, Design Trust for Public Space. “This program demonstrates a new era of prioritizing our streets and sidewalks for a better public experience. We are thrilled to see our Alfresco NYC recommendations, including a simplified portal for design guidelines and permitting requirements, be put into action. We hope the city will continue to create more user-friendly systems like this across the public realm.” 

“AIA New York is thrilled to see the official launch of Dining Out NYC, a program we’ve been proud to collaborate on since its inception as a temporary initiative,” said Jesse Lazar, executive director, AIA New York. “We believe the permanent program incorporates valuable lessons learned from the initial phase, addressing concerns about accessibility and aesthetics while maintaining the vibrancy and economic benefits outdoor dining brings to the city. We are committed to continuing our partnership with the city to refine and improve Dining Out NYC as it evolves, ensuring a thriving public space that serves both New Yorkers and the restaurant industry.” 

“Let the next chapter of New York City’s streetscape begin!” said Jackson Chabot, director of advocacy and organizing, Open Plans. “Dining Out NYC has reclaimed curb space for New Yorkers and created much-needed outdoor space in neighborhoods across the city. With these latest resources and design guidelines, business owners have what they need to thrive. It’s exciting to see the city seize new opportunities to enhance our public realm and support beloved local businesses; we look forward to them continuing to adapt and improve this already very popular program.” 

“We are thrilled to have a permanent outdoor dining program in place, this framework will ensure the long-term growth of dining establishments which are crucial to neighborhood economies throughout the five boroughs,” said Tim Laughlin, president, Lower East Side Partnership. “Instituting a more coordinated approach to use of the roadway will ensure positive benefits for merchants, residents, and tourists alike.” 

“We are delighted to see the launch of the Dining Out NYC portal as a comprehensive information hub where restaurants can receive visual, digestible guidelines for roadway and sidewalk dining. The development of this ‘one-stop shop’ marks a virtual foothold for the creation of future vibrant streetscapes across the city,” said Darwin Keung, research and policy manager, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “We thank Mayor Eric Adams, Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu, and the staff of DOT for implementing one of the key recommendations of designers, advocates, public realm stakeholders, and the Alfresco NYC coalition with the creation of the Dining Out NYC Portal.” 

“To successfully use our streets for people to enjoy and local businesses to thrive, small details count.” said Claire Weisz, principal, WXY.   

“Bringing the city’s regulations to life in four different urban situations, our modular, off-the-shelf systems are real options that work for New York’s restaurant owners,” said Jacob Dugopolski, associate principal, WXY. “From angled corners to a variety of overhead coverings, they take into account the situation on the ground in New York and give restaurant owners the tools they need to succeed.” 

“Our ambition as architects of public space is to design the tools and strategies that allow citizens to shape their own neighborhoods,” said Basar Girit, partner, SITU. “We hope these schemes and guidelines provide the flexibility for restaurants to continue to activate and enliven their streetscapes.” 

“SITU’s experience with the nitty-gritty details of fabrication complements WXY’s experience with urban design,” said Michael Brotherton, partner, SITU. “The partnership has proven really fruitful in the search for novel solutions to the problems posed by the pandemic-era street dining program.” 

Photo credit: 1) Sample steep-street roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT. 2) Sample corner roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT. 3) Sample mid-block roadway setup for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT. 4) Sample roadway setup in a floating parking lane for Dining Out NYC. Credit: DOT.

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