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Served! Judge rules against city on Open Restaurants; Says enviro impact review needed

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Thurs., March 24, 8 p.m.:

Holy shed!

Calling New York City’s actions “arbitary and capricious,” a state Supreme Court justice has ordered that a complete environmental review must be done for the city’s contentious Open Restaurants program.

The March 23 ruling by Judge Frank Nervo effectively nullifies the City Council’s recently passed Zoning Text amendment to scrap long-standing sidewalk cafe regulations, which would have permitted outdoor dining on nearly every street in the city.

Nervo found in favor of 22 New Yorkers who sued the city this past October over its pandemic-inspired outdoor dining schemes. The plaintiffs argued that the Open Restaurants program, which is being overseen by the city’s Department of Transportation, had many negative impacts that required an environmental review.

There are currently more than 12,000 roadway dining sheds in the city, with the highest numbers of them concentrated in Downtown Manhattan’s three City Council districts.

The plaintiffs argued that, instead of the city just “pre-judging” the program and assuring it would have no impact, it needed to review Open Restaurants under the State Environmental Quality Review Act a.k.a. SEQRA.

A SEQRA review, Nervo noted, would mandate taking “a hard look” at the program’s potential impacts on things like “unabated noise,” “potential safety hazards,” traffic and parking, sanitation and neighborhood character. However, that review and associated required hard look never happened, he said.

Nervo, in his ruling, acknowedged that Open Restaurants was created by pandemic emergency declarations by former Governor Cuomo and de Blasio. But, he said, that doesn’t mean the city should be let off the hook from having, at some point, to do a required environmental impact study for the sprawling, citywide program.

On the contraray, Nervo said, the situation “warrants nothing less than a comprehensive and earnest consideration and examination of the actual impacts of the already implemented program upon the daily functioning of the city’s sidewalks and streets, as well as the impact upon locally affected residents.”

A fairly enclosed-looking dining shed on E. Houston Street near Mulberry Street. Under COVID regulations, the structures were supposed to have two sides open. (Photo by The Village Sun)

According to the judge, it’s fair to say that, “The programs have, at a minimum, impacted traffic and noise levels, and may have significantly impacted sanitation. Petitioners cite the increase in noise complaints in locations where the program has been implemented as further evidence of the environmental impacts. Consequently, these impacts may be significant, and therefore the environmental impact studies and public comment are required under SEQRA.”

The operative word in determining whether environmental impact studies are required, the judge stressed, is “may.”

In ruling against the city, Nervo also said that because the Open Restaurants program is still “not fully developed,” City Hall’s having claimed early on that the program would have no impact is “the very definition of impermissible pre-judgment.”

The lawsuit plaintiffs live in nightlife-heavy neighborhoods from Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen to the East Village, Lower East Side and Williamsburg. At least one plaintiff was also a merchant who complained the dining sheds were negatively impacting her business.

In a strongly worded ruling, Nervo dismissed the city’s argument and rebuked its actions.

“For a taxpayer-supported agency to declare, in effect, the Open Restaurants Program and Outdoor Seating have no negative impact on our streets and communities because that Agency has unilaterally made that determination,” he wrote, “serves only as a thinly veiled attempt to avoid statutory scrutiny of the program by a baseless claim of its own omnipotence.”

Nervo lives in and has roots in Greenwich Village, where his forebears owned a grocery store. He is a past president of the Village Independent Democrats political club.

Civil-rights attorney Michael Sussman, who represented the petitioners, said, “The New York State Supreme Court today affirmed the rule of law against those who would rush through programs intended to radically change this great city. And, this law applies to small towns, villages, and to this great city.”

The city now has 30 days within which to appeal the ruling.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio decreed by fiat that Open Restaurants would become permanent, and the city then started moving rapidly to make the pandemic emergency outdoor dining program permanent.

A locked dining shed outside the Bowery Hotel, at Third Street and Bowery. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Under Mayor Adams, who glowingly says outdoor dining makes the city “feel like Paris,” the City Council held a single hearing — albeit nine hours long — in early February. Two weeks later, the Council voted to strip away decades of zoning regulations that had prohibited outdoor dining in residential districts.

Separately, the City Council is now moving forward with drafting a law that is meant to oversee the Open Restaurants program — including the roadway sheds, which D.O.T. has said would be phased out next year.

The judge’s ruling, though, means that the city will effectively have to start over, beginning with a thorough environmental impact review as required by state law.

“This case was about more than Open Restaurants. It was about following our land-use process,” said George M. Janes, a Manhattan-based city planner and zoning specialist. “If an action has the potential for significant environmental impacts, those impacts have to be studied and disclosed in all projects, even those that the mayor wants to get done quickly. I’m glad Judge Nervo agreed.”

Lower East Side resident Deborah Gonzalez, one of the lawsuit petitioners, said the city forced beseiged residents to fight back.

“When our government is not doing the right thing by us, we have to demand it,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the judge’s decision. Those of us who’ve lived with noise, trash, rats and crowded streets and sidewalks for 18 months felt gaslighted when the D.O.T. said that there were no negative impacts on our lives.”

Attorney Sussman added, “To the extent municipal leaders do not comply with the law, the people must force the issue. An independent judiciary is critical to the rule of law and that has been made very clear today. I am proud today of the many throughout the city who have stood against lawlessness and for careful scrutiny of the impacts of open restaurants. Now, the real work begins.”

The lawsuit plaintiffs included Kathryn Arntzen, president of the Central Village Block Association; Diem Boyd of the LES Dwellers; Leslie Clark of West Village Residents Association; Pauline Augustine; Marjorie Dienstag; Mary Ann Pizza Dennis; Robin Felsher; Deborah Gonzalez; Dorothy Green; Ellen Koenigsberg; Melissa Krawitz; Shannon Phipps; Kate Puls; Larry Roberts; Marcell Rocha; Elizabeth Sabo; Michael Simon; Gordon M. Stanley; Steven Thaler; Stuart Waldman; Patrick Walsh and Judith Zaborowski.

Some of the plaintiffs are members of the ad-hoc group Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy NYC a.k.a. CUEUP. Its organizational team draws from South Village Neighbors, West Village Residents Association, Central Village Block Association and also from the Berry Street Alliance in Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Its member groups hail from all corners of Downtown Manhattan, from the Bedford-Downing St. Block Association, E. Fifth St. Block Association and Soho Alliance to the Chinatown Core Block Association and the London Terrace Residents in Chelsea, plus as far away as Washington Heights/Inwood and Sunnyside Gardens in Queens.

After the big legal win, shed foes spoke at the Community Board 2 meeting on Thursday and said the pressure must be kept up.

Leslie Clark and Micki McGee, two leading members of CUEUP, both said that for the courts to rule in favor of an Article 78 lawsuit — which challenges a city action — is pretty unusual. McGee said only about 10 percent of Article 78 cases are successful.

John Grimes, a local resident, said he has a “pod” right outside his window and it’s a nightmare.

“It is not outdoor dining,” he said. “It is outdoor drinking, Mardi Gras every night.”

54 Comments

  1. Obiter Dicta Obiter Dicta March 24, 2022

    Three cheers for Judge Nervo!!! The City’s decision to create a free-for-all for outside dining sheds (that are little more than expansive extensions onto the sidewalks and streets of their interior spaces) throughout Lower Manhattan was disproportionately weighted toward benefitting restaurant owners, a good portion of whom don’t live in the neighborhoods in which they are making their profits, and outside fun-seekers, without giving due consideration to the impact they’re having on the residents who actually live in these neighborhoods.

  2. JackDog JackDog March 24, 2022

    A reasonable decision by Judge Nervo. The DOT under then Commissioner Sadik-Khan actively avoided an environmental impact study on the infrastructure build-out to
    buttress the aptly named Vision Zero. The Queen of hubris, emboldened by her brain trust, Transportation Alternatives, and given free rein by then-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — “Do whatever you want — just don’t screw up” — zealously established an irresponsible bike culture. And avoided a cooperative effort with other city agencies, such as NYPD, FDNY, emergency services.

    Sadik-Khan and TA were clear about the desire to build out the bike-share program and all the lanes and bike racks associated with the blitz. She stated that the intention was to build it out as fast as possible and make it as difficult as possible for any future administration to take it down.

    In the misguided effort to increase bike ridership, TA twisted the arms of mayors to suppress enforcement by the NYPD. Education and enforcement are the backbone of a responsible bike culture. Under the guise of going green, a public safety crisis was fomented. World-class congestion resulted. A congestion tax resulted. Business was lost. Accident statistics continue to climb. Cyclists were undermined by the lack of commonsense helmet requirements. The NYPD was undermined by allowing rogue cyclists to run rampant over street and sidewalk without enforcement or regard for public rights and safety.

    TA and the grandiose Charles Komanoff have contrived to put a square peg into a round hole. By importing bike infrastructure from Europe, where the logistics of
    population density and street width are very different, the City has been disruptive without regard for being constructive.

    The dining sheds are another way that Transportation Alternatives has found, in collusion with the real estate industry, to reduce parking space and attempt to
    discourage the use of motor vehicles on the streets.

    Cars are not the anti-Christ. Bikes are simply a useful mode of transportation and recreation. Its time the City took a stand in favor of rationality. And stopped dancing to the tune of a fanatical minority. Bikes have never been the answer to reducing pollution. The deaths and accidents that have occurred and are increasing are the direct result of the reckless policies implemented in the pursuit of the irrational interests of a vocal, well-funded, grandiose minority.

    Its time NYC stopped dancing to this mad tune. Remove the sheds, which were supposed to serve an emergency function. There is NO SAFETY without a responsible bike culture. Educate. Regulate. Enforce.

    • ------m ------m March 24, 2022

      thank you for adding logic to the formula!!

    • Laird Laird March 24, 2022

      “World-class congestion” is the result of BIKES? That’s A New One. Couldn’t possibly be ride hail and delivery vehicles. And yes, all the pedestrian deaths = because of the bikes. This is rich.

  3. susan stetzer susan stetzer March 24, 2022

    Yea, Frank! When he first ran for Civil Court with the support of this community, he stressed that this was the people’s court and he would be a judge for the people’s court. He is continuing that tradition. We knew what we were doing when we supported him.

      • susan stetzer susan stetzer March 24, 2022

        Yes, I am proud that I was his campaign manager first time around. No, I have not discussed with him — that would be against the rules! We are generally in touch just by social media when I comment on his consistently good rulings.

  4. LES3025 LES3025 March 24, 2022

    Anti-outdoor dining folks are going to take a victory lap over this, but there is a decent chance that this gets overturned on appeal. These kinds of plaintiffs don’t have a good record in these land-use disputes (e.g. Schwartz’s 14th St. busway or East Side Coastal Resiliency litigation). Also, this judge has a history of getting reversed. He was the one who issued a TRO against the vaccine mandate for cops (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-14/judge-blocks-nyc-vaccine-mandate-for-detective-who-sued-city), which was thrown out a couple weeks later (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-30/judge-tosses-order-blocking-vaccine-mandate-for-one-nypd-cop).

    • NakedHikerNYC NakedHikerNYC March 24, 2022

      Let’s hope … Open Restaurants was one of the few good things to come out of the pandemic, let’s not let the NIMBYs roll it back …

      • LES3025 LES3025 March 24, 2022

        Even if it doesn’t, I suspect the city will just do the EIS and come to the same conclusion. Open Restaurants is here one way or the other.

        The more concerning thing about this decision is the trend of environmental laws being abused by special-interest groups to delay or stop government actions that have nothing to do with the environment (or which have an obviously positive effect on the environment when considering how bad the status quo is). Now it’s Open Restaurants, but next it will be the same people saying we need an EIS to implement containerized trash pickup or install a bike lane because of impacts on parking and congestion. It makes governing slower and more expensive and prevents us from having good things. It’s a huge problem in California and I’m concerned that it is coming here.

        • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | March 24, 2022

          What would Jane Jacobs say?

          • Terry Katz Terry Katz March 24, 2022

            What a good question. Jacobs says a healthy district must have diversity of activity. When one use overtakes and crowds out all others, diversity plumments and the district dies. Jacobs cites Downtown New York and 8th Street as two examples.

            Could one argue that the squalid shacks “crowd out” other activities, thereby reducing diversity? They certainly block out the sky and make the sidewalks almost impassable. Without a view of the sky from the sidewalk, residents have lost outdoor space. The crowding out of the activity of recreation and the cluttering of the sidewalk means residents have also lost the activity of transportation (walking). So, in light of the loss of recreation and walking, the squalid shacks do decrease diversity of activity.

            As to Jacobs’s requirement for short blocks, the squalid shacks so impede sidewalk movement that it takes much longer to walk along the blocks, which, in a sense makes the blocks longer. So yes, the squalid shacks offend Jacobs’s “short block” requirement also.

      • ------m ------m March 24, 2022

        to all who like to conflate —
        there will still be sidewalk dining — just not in the STREET, which collects trash, breeds rats and makes it near-impossible for the FDNY to keep us ALL safe

    • Appeal shoe will drop Appeal shoe will drop March 26, 2022

      My thoughts exactly. This ruling is extreme and will not stand. Outdoor dining was permissible before the pandemic, just not as widely used because of cost implications. This iteration of the program essentially took the regulation and review process away from DCA and gave it to DOT, which waived the fees. It’s a double-edged sword. DOT is poised to both bring back fees and disallow permanent sheds from being built in order to be able to administer the program. The idea that the agency should have to review the environmental impact of a program that effectively has existed for decades will sink this argument on appeal.

      • S.S.. S.S.. March 27, 2022

        ” program that effectively has existed for decades “

        FALSE!!
        Outdoor dining – aka sidewalk cafes – were NEVER permitted in residential areas. NEVER. Only in commerically-zoned or manufacturing districts.

        This rezoning changed that, with only one city council hearing, run by a Bronx councilmember who doesn’t have a single one of these shacks within blocks of her home. I bet you don’t either.

        Furthermore, covid was the reason for having these shacks. Covid is waning; their reason for being no longer exists.

        Finally, the restaurant industry received more Covid relief funding than any other industry = $72,2 billion. They are not hurting, unlike your beleaguered neighbors.

        It is a sad commentary that some, presumably, local residents – clearly lacking a modicum of empathy – do not support their neighbors, but instead shill for the wealthy and well-financed hospitality lobby. What a bunch of quislings.

        • Hmm Hmm March 31, 2022

          Here’s a picture in time from before the pandemic: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/SidewalkCafeMap/index.html

          You can peruse the vast number of sidewalk cafes — almost ALL in commercial overlays in RESIDENTIAL areas — that existed. You can look up an address of one to compare if they had one before or if there were any on the block or general neighborhood. My guess is you just never noticed them before. As for me, I have one in the building next door to mine, and one a block away that I can hear from my apartment.

          Did this change make the program more accessible? Sure, while it was free. But moving forward, not only will they not be free, but the sheds will be permanently disallowed. I am sure neither restaurant near me will opt into this new program.

          My point stands, and if there was no environmental impact study needed for renting out the public space to begin with, certainly none should be needed now. I share the view that another commenter listed above — this gross NIMBY distortion of environmental law by shameful lawyers who should know better continues a terrible precedent that will ultimately backfire by weakening statutes meant to protect the environment, not delay projects that ultimately improve it.

          • Pete Davies Pete Davies April 1, 2022

            Compare what is found on your map link to what now is in place under Open Restaurants, using that map link:

          • @Pete Davies @Pete Davies April 1, 2022

            It’s absolutely night and day. Though I would wager that the 2020 map undercounted because the pandemic hit before many were able to get in their applications. I would say there were closer to 40-50 in CB3 pre-pandemic…now it’s easily 5X more.

            For those of us who support this, it is clear that the cafes were overregulated, if the deregulation caused such a drastic increase in the overall number. My take on what has happened here is that folks like S.S. — who did not even notice sidewalk cafes in the neighborhood pre-pandemic — all of a sudden cried dystopia because they were aggrieved something was affecting them that previously had not and they found a two-bit lawyer and got a favorable judge. This kind of basic NIMBY position absolutely does not change that an EIS was not needed pre-pandemic and should not be needed now. So expect the city to win the appeal, hopefully before the summer, so the restaurants do not lose out on the business as the weather improves.

            The silver lining in all of this, for everyone, is that it seems a middle ground is coming. The change in the regulating agency means that costs and strict conditions are coming, and sheds are going away. The number of these things will regress to something higher than pre-pandemic, but not as extremely high as it is now. I would predict there will be 20-30% more seasonal open restaurants than there were sidewalk cafes. I can live with that, and I’m sure most others will too!

          • susan stetzer susan stetzer April 3, 2022

            Yes, sidewalk cafes were always allowed in commercial overlays in residential districts. Nobody is against this regulation. The issue is the change to allow outdoor dining in residentially zoned areas that are not in commercial overlays.

          • LES3025 LES3025 April 3, 2022

            Susan, was that initial S.S. post calling us shills and quislings you, or a different S.S..?

    • JQ LLC JQ LLC March 26, 2022

      And his decision was tremendously flawed and the mandates did not stop infections but led to a resurrection of lockdowns, and the impact from the firings and suspensions also exacerbated the rise in crime and led to the deadly fire at the Bronx Twin Parks apartment building, where FDNY building inspectors were reassigned to check vaccine passport enforcement by restaurant owners.

  5. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe March 24, 2022

    THANK YOU, JUDGE NERVO! The City Council meeting was a joke. Their minds were already made up and they only made a pretense of listening to protesting residents who testified.

    And to Eric Adams — have you ever actually been to Paris?

  6. Augustine Hope Augustine Hope March 24, 2022

    Bravo to all the plaintiffs for taking a public stand under a constant shower of invective and scorn. Bravo for putting the brakes on an unmanaged and unmanageable program. Bravo for teaching the Department of City Planning a lesson in civic engagement. Bravo for demanding that detailed planning and thorough analysis precede legislation and implementation. Bravo to the 22 newly minted Jane Jacobses.

    Now let’s roll up sleeves, open our sketch pads and CADs, and reimagine our streets in a way that benefits all citizens and all businesses all day long, not just the few operating from dusk to dawn.

    • LES3025 LES3025 March 24, 2022

      We’re coming up on two years of Open Restaurants. If you or these “22 newly minted Jane Jacobses” were going to propose a plan to reimagine our streets, why hasn’t that been done yet? Sure seems like a lot of people here in the comments celebrating this victory don’t have any interest in any reimagining.

      • JQ LLC JQ LLC March 26, 2022

        That word “reimagine” needs to be canceled. The reimaginings of our streets preached by the urbanish scientologists Trans Alt and Open Plans and their money and influence over our feckless elected officials has led to street chaos.

  7. Carol from East 5th Street Carol from East 5th Street March 24, 2022

    To Jack Dog – I thought I was the only one that thought Janet Sadik-Khan was the WORST DOT Commissioner. Besides the bulldozing of bike lanes onto NYC pedestrians (hello – this is not Amsterdam) she totally ignored the history of Broadway (the longest street in NYC) with roots back to Native American times) and interrupted traffic flow at major intersections by installing pedestrian plazas for tourists. This, in turn, increased traffic and air pollution by forcing normal Broadway traffic onto small crosstown streets.
    In addition, the roads in NYC were a disaster. The normal fixing of potholes after winter damage was ignored. Worn white lines used to maintain lanes were not repainted — a major danger on both the LIE and the FDR Drive, especially at night. The FDR Drive was one step above a grade 3 road in a Third World country, with major pits and holes.
    Literally, one week after Polly Trottenberg took office as new DOT commissioner, local roads finally started being repaired. Not happy that Trottenberg continued with the major increase in Citi Bike stations but I’m thankful for small victories.

    • Skeptical Skeptical March 25, 2022

      in what world would the mark of a good DOT commissioner be improving auto infrastructure? It *should* be difficult to drive in NYC.

      • JQ LLC JQ LLC March 26, 2022

        That’s a psychotic take.

  8. Herman F Hewitt Herman F Hewitt March 24, 2022

    One question: If a majority of the residents of New York City and their community boards, which represent them, think that those shanties have and will adversely impact the quality of life in neighborhoods, then why are the City Council representatives so wholeheartedly supporting it?

    • LES3025 LES3025 March 24, 2022

      A majority of residents don’t think that, though. All the polling that has been done suggests that an overwhelming majority of city residents support the program. And for people who don’t like the polls, you can see that tons of people are out there showing their support by using the sheds. The majority of community boards were opposed, but that’s because community boards aren’t representative of the city as a whole.

    • Concerned NYer Concerned NYer March 26, 2022

      Because the City Council reps are getting funding from activists groups. Go on social media for ANY of the City Council reps that are touted as “progressives.” Almost every single one of them is getting funding from “Open” groups and StreetsPAC groups.

      And Adams is terrified of them because he is focused on reelection and his future political career.

      This is why these groups try to get members on the local Community Boards, so they can influence policy, against the will of the residents of these neighborhoods.

      They also use phony stats pushed by the people who WANT these things in order to justify it. Posting pro-Openwhatever surveys on social media, in order to get people from all over to support these types of moves.

      • susan stetzer susan stetzer April 18, 2022

        les 3025–if you are asking me if I called you shills or quislings—no. I don’t call people names and I use my name. I would not do such a thing.

    • JQ LLC JQ LLC March 26, 2022

      Because real estate rules this town and it seems they are using Trans Alt as a proxy to get even more land grabs.

  9. Douglas Davis Douglas Davis March 24, 2022

    Good, thanks, Judge Nervo! The continuing, negative issues with these “temporary” sheds have been thoroughly documented by local residents. The NYFD has determined the structures are a hazard to public safety.
    They have served their purpose and are no longer needed, nor necessary.
    Our commercial commons have been stolen. Delivery trucks for other merchants and businesses are often forced to park or idle blocks away.
    While this environmental impact review proceeds, locals should focus on recording and reporting the conditions of nearby sheds.

  10. bob milton bob milton March 24, 2022

    I wonder if the City Council is as weak-kneed and flaccid as our federal government is. Based on the fact that they passed the Zoning Tax Amendment in an apparent BJ to the hospitality industry, it won’t surprise me if the CC finds a way with their lobbyist dollars to make this happen regardless.

  11. Alan Flacks Alan Flacks March 25, 2022

    I keep repeating, but nobody (government boards, organizations & associations) listens that the Fire Department must be included in this issue. How do these structures impact firefighting, from getting to the fire hydrants to reducing the floors ladders can go up to?

  12. John Penley John Penley March 25, 2022

    New York City now leads the country in the number of people who are moving to other areas of the country. There are numerous news reports about this in the last few days. Also, it has been widely reported that a new COVID variant is starting to show up in New York. To the instigators of this misguided lawsuit, keep it up and destroy the revenue that is the lifeblood of the city, restaurants and bars. Soon you will be moving out as well.

  13. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe March 25, 2022

    Yes many people are moving out of NYC but hordes of people are moving in. Why else are developers erecting new buildings in every neighborhood and landlords hiking rents? New York City continues to be the place that talented, ambitious and dynamic people want to live. Let the faint of heart be gone.
    The outdoor sheds are no longer needed. Restaurants are now packed indoors. All these sheds are now just a boon for landlords whose “rentable” space has increased.
    And as to a new variant of COVID — with 77% of residents vaccinated and testing sites on almost every street corner, we are well-prepared. Can’t say that for a good portion of the rest of the country.
    And I would never move out of NYC.

  14. Skeptical Skeptical March 25, 2022

    It’s more or less fine on principle that the environmental review be completed as a matter of disclosure and good government. However, I’m really not sure what people looking to turn back outdoor dining are celebrating for. Even if this were not overturned on appeal, what are you expecting environmental review to do other than deliver a paycheck to AECOM? There are probably not going to be significant impacts found. These are not the kind of things the law was really intended to scrutinize. Were there to be, I still suspect the mitigation measures will be minimal (because, frankly, the environmental impact of a street shed as defined by the CEQR thresholds is minimal. Whether it disturbs you as community members is another story…)

    It is a little worrisome that there is a growing trend to use an actually important civic oversight and disclosure tool as a bad-faith tactic to delay projects in the courts simply because the process is long. Whether or not there is a true environmental impact that needs to be mitigated seems to be beside the point in many of these instances. 14th St busway comes to mind as one example.

  15. John Penley John Penley March 26, 2022

    Not too long ago Mac McGill was ranting about a New Year’s Eve outdoor gathering in Tompkins Square Park because many people were not wearing masks, even though the invite said to wear masks. Because it was outside, it was not a superspreader event and nobody reported they got Covid at it. Now he is once again making a dumb comment but on another person’s comment and he has taken a 180-degree turn on his position. News reports today are warning of a new Covid variant that is spreading rapidly, and it is working-class people who are leaving NYC because they cannot afford it anymore. Sooner or later the city will be a place for only the rich — and Bowery Babe and Mac McGill, I hope you don’t end up being forced out yourselves but maybe you are rich, too?

    • mac McGill mac McGill March 26, 2022

      I have no idea what your talking about John Penley.

      • John Penley John Penley May 11, 2022

        Sorry to see you probably have Dementia Mac.

  16. John Penley John Penley March 26, 2022

    I guess that “Bowery Babe” actually is rich since the Bowery is wall to wall expensive apartments and condos now so anyone adopting that name now gotta be a Yupster.

  17. Stuart Stuart March 26, 2022

    A majority of nyc’s community boards voted against this legislation. Our new and old mayor ignored them. Our own city councilmembers ignored them, and us! But, the obvious, onerous concerns cannot be ignored by our own representatives. As the judge found, citizenry cannot be put on the back burner in the interest of the hospitality industry.

  18. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe March 26, 2022

    Sorry, John Penley, I’m far from rich. There are still many old, unconverted buildings on the Bowery. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 35 years, so for sure not a “Yupster.”

  19. John Penley John Penley March 26, 2022

    One thing that no one is considering from the people suing over this crowd is that street violence is out of control and more people outside makes an area safer. This really applies even more to Chinatown, where Asian men and women have become a prime target for violence. Outdoor dining there would hopefully make the area and people, especially women, safer at night. Take note, “Bowery Girl” and Mac McGill.

    • mac McGill mac McGill March 27, 2022

      I think we already have, among other considerations….since we live here…but thank you for the support from Las Vegas.

      • John Penley John Penley March 27, 2022

        Manhattan Lost 6.9% of Its Population in 2021, the Most of Any Major U.S. County. Believe me, Mac, if any of the “Squatters” or “Homesteaders,” like you, had offered me any alternative I would not be here. For many, “Housing is a human right” became “How much can I get for my apartment?” Besides, many of the New York issues talked about here are national ones and are common in most of America.

  20. John Penley John Penley May 11, 2022

    Covid is back again in NYC and also there is a hot spot in Long Island City now. These outdoor spaces my be a good thing to have again like I said here a while ago

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