Thursday, March 18, 2021

Open streets and restaurants has led to blowback blight



Remake New York is the new buzzword for pundits and politicians. It envisions the post-pandemic city as a blank slate on which to try out cool new ideas. There’s nothing wrong with cool ideas but actual policy requires more than slogans and press releases. It requires planning. It requires expertise. It requires debate and public input.

Permanent outdoor dining is warning for what can go wrong when you remake New York on the fly. Beginning as a temporary measure designed to help restaurants survive the lockdown, the public took to outdoor dining right away. After a grim spring, when moving vans were more common than taxis, people loved the sight of the funky shacks, festooned with fake flowers and painted in gaudy colors, that were bringing life back to the streets.

Elected officials love popular programs, especially if the official has worn out his welcome. Mayor de Blasio jumped all over outdoor dining, declaring that it must “be part of city life for years to come.” Just a few weeks later his wish became an actual law mandating “the establishment of a permanent outdoor dining program” by October 1, 2021. In the blink of an eye, and with no debate, the city tossed out long-established policy, ignored long-established zoning restrictions and gave away public land — sidewalks and roadways—to private businesses.

Local Law 114 is a textbook example of how not to make policy. At a single hastily convened hearing, members of the City Council tossed softballs to representatives of the restaurant industry and Business Improvement Districts. Representatives of the neighborhoods impacted by the new law were nowhere to be found. The official voice of these neighborhoods, Community Boards, didn’t learn what was in the bill until after it had passed.

The one saving grace of this whole misbegotten process was that the city had an entire year before the permanent program took effect. One would think that the Mayor and City Council would have used that time for due diligence on a program they’d cobbled together so quickly. Instead, elected officials took the three-monkeys approach: neither seeing, hearing and certainly not speaking of the problems that came with outdoor dining.


Anonymous said...

Yep. New York has become a third world country.

Unknown said...

That public land was already being given free to individuals to store their personal property, so I don't see much change.

Anonymous said...

They're not forced. They're complying with this BS !
Not all villains wear evil grins. Some wear "Woke" blue and pink radioactive hair.
The best way to turn people against the left is to give them power for a while people soon wake up.
Bless em.

Anonymous said...

but the illegal aliens have to work at their off the books jobs, getting paid in cash and getting government goodies for all their many children and wives

georgetheatheist said...

Looks like you can catch every disease on the planet just walking down that street. Ahhhhh-choo!

Anonymous said...

Found some good points in that Medium article I hadn't considered. Good choice, Crappy!