New Grant Program For NYC Open Restaurants & Open Streets From Harlem To Hollis

The Alfresco NYC coalition, led by the Design Trust for Public SpaceRegional Plan Association, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Has announced a new one-time small grants program to support the Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs and fund businesses and community groups in neighborhoods hard-hit by the pandemic.

Funding is reserved for projects and programs impacting streets and sidewalks. Small businesses, nonprofits and community groups engaging (or planning to) in the Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs are eligible to apply. Grants can range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000.

View the Application Here

To learn more about qualifications, interested applicants can visit the Alfresco NYC website or find us on social media for guidance or reach out to nycalfresco@gmail.com with any questions.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through Friday, June 24th.

“As the pandemic continues to challenge New York’s vibrant neighborhoods, our communities have creatively reimagined the potential of public space to not only recover, but thrive,” said Matthew Clarke, Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space. “Outdoor dining and open streets are important tools for community growth, this program aims to support equitable access to this resource.”

“70% of our city streets are devoted to cars, but our recent survey says residents want the opposite: with 70% of shared space for bikes, buses, pedestrians, and other non-car uses,” said Maulin Mehta, New York Director, Regional Plan Association. “Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs bring NYC closer to this reality but require investments to be successful and RPA is pleased to help provide more equitable access to funding for the neighborhoods that need it the most.”

“Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs have fundamentally changed our City’s landscape, especially with regard to the allocation of public space. These programs have empowered New Yorkers to enliven their neighborhoods by creating shared spaces with parklets, art, cultural, fitness, and educational programming that brings community together,” said Renae Reynolds, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “We are pleased to be able to support the City’s small businesses and neighborhoods, especially in areas hard hit by COVID, by providing this grant opportunity.”

As open streets and open restaurants become permanent in New York City, Alfresco NYC launched the 2021 Alfresco Awards to recognize the city’s best outdoor dining spaces and open streets, and celebrate street life across the five boroughs.

Over the past year, Alfresco NYC has led a series of roundtable conversations with stakeholders including open street operators, restaurant owners, designers, volunteers, accessibility, and mobility advocates to work through the design challenges and opportunities associated with New York City’s Open Restaurants and Open Streets program.

Through these roundtables, the coalition is now compiling and reviewing design and policy recommendations to ensure the programs are equitable and successful. The recommendations will be published later this summer.

This one-time grant program is available thanks to the generous support of The New York Community Trust and the Association for a Better New York, working to help support our coalition, and small businesses and communities recover while investing in the public realm.



“The ABNY Foundation is proud to support the Alfresco NYC Coalition,” said Melva Miller, the Association for a Better New York’s first Chief Executive Officer. “As we think about the economic recovery for New York’s people, communities, and businesses, this initiative brings together all three components to reimagine and revitalize public spaces equitably and sustainably.”

“The Big Apple’s streetscape was already evolving before the pandemic in response to congestion, pedestrian safety, and bike-friendly policies,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, Program Officer for the Environment at the New York Community Trust. ”The Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs really kicked things into high gear. The al fresco dining that took root across the five boroughs helped the City weather a difficult time, and now, with the right policies and support, it can help usher in a vibrant, lasting, and equitable economic recovery.”

The Design Trust for Public Space 

The Design Trust for Public Space is a nationally recognized incubator that catalyzes change and transforms New York City’s shared civic spaces—streets, plazas, parks, public buildings, transportation, and housing developments—to create a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable city.

Founded on the tenet that New York City’s cultural and democratic life depends on viable public space, the Design Trust focuses on social justice and equity, environmental sustainability, design excellence, and public engagement.

Tri-State Transportation Campaign

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a 28-year old advocacy organization that fights for an equitable, safe, multi-modal transportation network that provides options and supports the economies of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

TSTC works to fix our commutes, meet our climate goals, stop traffic deaths, and make transportation fair. Learn more at www.tstc.org.

Regional Plan Association

Regional Plan Association (RPA) is an independent non-profit organization that conducts research, planning and advocacy to expand economic opportunity, environmental resiliency, improved health, and better quality of life in the New York metropolitan area.

Since the 1920s, RPA has produced four landmark plans for the region. The most recent was released in November 2017. For more information, please visit www.rpa.org.

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