Open Streets have popped up all around the city, designed to help restaurants and other businesses (as well as residents) weather this pandemic with a little more outdoor space.
The program, which was introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, allows restaurants to take an extra few feet into the road for tables, as well as draws neighbors to the newly, if temporarily, car-free areas. This week, de Blasio announced that the program would continue next year, from June 1st 2021 until October. So far, there are 2,415 open restaurants in Brooklyn, according to the Department of Transportation, with more being added all the time, some of which operate on the Open Streets.
Andrew Rigie, the director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, called the program “incredibly successful”, and praised the decision to continue next summer. The Mayor’s office claims that the program has saved over 80,000 jobs city-wide.
User @dtianga commented on the Alliance’s Instagram post about the extension, “Should never close. Get heaters for the winter. Close when it’s super cold.” We understand the feeling.
Gary Casimir, the owner of BK9 in Park Slope, told us that this is better than nothing.
“We’re not talking about anything near what most of the small businesses were doing before. But, anything from zero is an improvement,” Casimir said.
We really can’t complain about a program that allows for fewer cars in our neighborhoods and saves our favorite restaurants at the same time. We’re outlining some of our favorite streets in the program for you to check out below.
Park Slope’s 5th Avenue BID is the sponsor of these few blocks, located on 5th Avenue between Dean Street and Park Place. The program is in effect Saturdays from 12:00pm-11:00pm. Enjoy fresh pasta outside at Convivium Osteria, relax with a drink at Alchemy, or cool off with some Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream from SkyIce.
On 5th Avenue in Sunset Park there are two Open Restaurants stretches, from 40th-41st streets, and from 45th-47th streets. Try the bandera from Castillo, an Horchata Fresca from Los Cabo’s, or a cocktail from L’Wren. Tacos Matamoros is ready to serve you some chilaquiles, and make sure you finish your meal with a bite from Canela bakery.
The classic on-the-water stretch of Old Fulton Street from Water to Front streets is part of the program as well. Wait in line for a taste of the famous Grimaldi’s (or Juliana’s, depending on where your loyalties lie), cool off with a beer and a concrete from Shake Shack, or indulge in one of Fulton Burger’s creations.
Enjoy some time on the water in Red Hook with two of their most famous restaurants. On Reed Street, between Conover and Van Brunt Streets you’ll find Hometown Bar-B-Que’s pulled pork waiting for you. If you’re feeling more surf than turf, Brooklyn Crab is steps away, offering shrimp cocktails and Pina Coladas.
One of the largest stretches in the program falls on Vanderbilt Avenue between Pacific Street and Park Place. There are almost too many spots to choose from here, including several (yes, several) ice cream spots. Try the Jerusalem wrap at Zaytoon’s, or indulge in Olmsted’s “summer camp” menu. Grab a Jack-n-Smoke drink from Branded Saloon, or a fresh summer wine from Lalou to complete the trip.