BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Updated Dec. 1, 5 p.m.: This one definitely wasn’t on the menu.
Sunday afternoon, a speeding car slammed into an Open Restaurants dining platform on the Lower East Side, smacking it so hard the structure lurched forward and hit a parked car on the other side.
Clayton Patterson, the neighborhood photographer and documentarian, by chance happened to be standing by the dining platform around 4:15 p.m., near the southwest corner of Essex and Stanton Streets, when the black, four-door Toyota Camry came hurtling into it.
“I was talking to somebody and all of a sudden — smaaaash!” he said. “You can imagine the noise. I thought a building fell or something. It moved the whole shed enough that it smashed into the car in front of it. The shed was 20 feet to 30 feet long.
“It’s a miracle that nobody was in the crosswalk, a f—ing miracle,” Patterson said. “Then he hit the shed. He said he had no brakes.”
The roadway dining structure belongs to El Nuevo Amancer, a Mexican and Dominican restaurant. Luckily, no one was in it at the time of the accident. The driver appeared uninjured.
But diners whose biggest worry before might have been how hot the place’s chili sauce was, now have a bigger concern. Patterson said the Open Restaurants deck has been taking a beating — as in, this wasn’t the first time it was hit.
“A few days ago a garbage truck also ran into it,” he said.
Nervous diners might want to order some extra tequilas, just so they don’t feel the crashes as much!
However, there’s more to the story. After The Village Sun initially published this article, Gersh Kuntzman, the editor of Streetsblog, ran the driver’s license plate — and found that, over the past three and a half years, he has received seven red-light violations and four school zone speed-camera violations. Kuntzman branded him a “recidivist, reckless driver.”
Speaking of garbage trucks and dining sheds, it seems that, like oil and vinegar, they just don’t mix. In September, a garbage truck scooped up one of the outdoor structures on Sixth Avenue near 13th Street — with a patron inside of it — and dragged it about 10 feet. The diner was uninjured.