It’s always been tough to keep track of which restaurants and bars have active sidewalk cafe permits. Now the city has taken a step toward greater transparency. The Department of Consumer Affairs has launched an interactive map that shows the locations of more than 1300 sidewalk cafes, the number of seats allowed, renewal dates, etc.
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The goal is to boost transparency and reduce confusion surrounding the licensing process, said Julie Menin, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the licensing of sidewalk cafés… By listing both active licenses and pending applications, the agency hopes the map can be a resource for residents, who may want to see a certain business’s credentials or health grade. Business owners will now be able to check whether a neighborhood is zoned for sidewalk cafés or is overly saturated with too much outdoor dining. A tracker tool allows users to follow, in real time, the status of an application, from submission to DCA, to the Planning Department, to community-board review and to the City Council. “We’re really excited about this because we think it’s going to be great for small businesses,” Ms. Menin said.
According to the map, there are 97 active sidewalk cafe permits in Community District 3, which includes the Lower East Side, East Village and most of Chinatown. There are 16 active applications. In Community District 2, Crain’s noted, there are more than 230 active permits, the most of any area in the city. CB2 covers Soho and the West Village.
If you would like to explore the map, here’s the link.