Friday, August 10, 2012

How many is too many?

From DNA Info:

Dozens of sidewalk cafes dot the streets of Astoria these days, attracting locals and visitors from around the city.

But while the crowds enjoy sipping their coffee and eating food al fresco, some residents say their increasing numbers are hard to swallow.

Outdoor seating started arriving in the area about two decades ago, but in recent years they have been popping up in increasing numbers, especially on 30th Avenue.

More than 20 of the 53 outdoor cafes in the neighborhood — the majority of the 88 in Queens — are located on the stretch, which has a variety of Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Greek and Italian restaurants.

Loizos Loizon, the owner of Avenue Cafe on 30th Avenue, said they have become an integral part of the neighborhood, where many residents are of European descent and the outdoor setting reminds them of home.

“Back in Europe, people like to sit outside and look at the sea or nature,” said Loizon, who came to the U.S. from Cyprus. “Here, we look at the streets, but it is better than nothing.”

But some residents say the al fresco dining scene is giving them agita.

When Patricia Schrader, a teacher and Astoria resident for 25 years, walks home from work along 30th Avenue, she says she has to slalom between various obstacles.

There have always been bus stops and street vendors there, she said, but in recent years a growing number of cafes have taken over a large portion of the sidewalk.

“It grows like a little tumor, they sprawled out all over,” said Schrader. “Sometimes the sidewalk isn’t wide enough.”

Moving around is especially difficult for people walking with a baby carriage or carrying bags. “Sometimes it’s difficult to pass through,” she said.


Anonymous said...

Can't win, right? The economy continues to tank every day, small businesses closing every day, shuttered storefronts all across the country, unemployment going nowhere but up, empty cities and downtowns, and these morons want to drive away business. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

What does the code say and where is the enforcement? Sidewalk cafes are nice and many folks enjoy them. However if a sidewalk is not wide enough and there are tables and chairs all over the place as the pic indicates then it does become a safety issue for everyone and the business is irresponsible for allowing this to take place. DOB should be summoned (311) and visit the site for an inspection of conditions. But like anything else, enforcement whether National (illegal immigration) or local laws are subject to the will to enforce the law.

Anonymous said...

DOB is on the take with all of these cheap outdoor cafes

Anonymous said...

Consumer Affairs licenses sidewalk cafes....

Anonymous said...

If I wanted to eat outside and be subject to the weather, sweat from the heat, noise from cars/trucks/buses, car/truck/bus fumes, vehicles horns beeping, flies/bugs swarming around me, bugs landing on my food, loud people yakking in foreign tongues, aromas from vile smelling food and idiots staring at me I'd eat on my front stoop or in my backyard.

If I'm going out to eat and paying a decent price for the luxury I want some comfort and not street ambiance.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how people sitting on the sidewalk expect the same level of privacy and quiet as the they would have inside.

I say if you put your tables outside when its sunny for free then I get to "hang out" inside and not buy anything when its raining.

Anonymous said...

I hope these "outdoor" over the sidewalk cafes and bars have good liability insurance. If a pedestrian gets hit by a passing vehicle because of the obstacles caused by any of these merchants; they'll probably face a nice lawsuit or even the city for allowing them to go beyond the fence on this. There should be rules for this kind of arrangements that must be respected for the safety of the public and to avoid over crowdedness.

Anonymous said...

I went to a community board meeting in Astoria once and 'Big Mike' Vinny Donato did everything he could to verbally abuse any complainers about this.

That's the way the community leadership treats the locals - like peasants - who dutifully mumble their apologies as they sit back down.

Hey Queens! You're next! Next stop, Borough Hall!

Anonymous said...

Astoria's leadership no longer cares about the community - those cafes and hookah lounges are geared to hipsters and the immigrant community while stores that the community needs are priced out of the market.

Walking around Astoria is now a chore, with all the tree pits and fences intruding on the sidewalks, as well cafes using this public space for private purposes after paying a nominal fee.

Anonymous said...

My favorite - Mystery Man Gianaris, fresh out of law school, telling Con Ed that they are not doing their job and telling the community to conserve energy while ignoring all the cafes who take down their walls and air condition the sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

Enough is enough already with all these Euro hipster douche sidewalk cafe's with Manhattan pricing plaguing the streets of Astoria. I am completely fed up and disgusted with what Astoria has become. I was content when Flo on 30th Ave burned down a year or so ago but to my dismay they opened up again. It seems like things only get worse in Queens.