Massive Show of Support from Restaurant and Design Pros for a DOT-Led Open Restaurant Program

This looks like a DOT program to most New York urbanists.
This looks like a DOT program to most New York urbanists.

The virtual entirety of New York’s architecture and urban planning world is urging Council Speaker Adrienne Adams to keep the popular open restaurant program inside the Department of Transportation because it is “the only agency capable of integrating Open Restaurants into a broader holistic vision for repurposing the right-of-way.”

In a letter sent Tuesday to the mayor, the speaker and Council Member Marjorie Velázquez (D-Bronx), hundreds of planners, advocates and restauranteurs backed the mayor’s contention that the Covid-era program that kept scores of restaurants in business during the pandemic should not be moved to the smaller Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, which oversees the sidewalk cafe program that is being folded into open restaurants as part of the Council bill to make the program permanent.

The signers believe on the DOT can envision the full possibilities for restaurants in the curbside lane.

“More than just a business recovery program, Open Restaurants has shown that repurposing the curb lane benefits entire communities,” the signers said. “Restaurants offered public programming in areas where open space was limited, used their structures to help neighborhood groups facilitate community activities, and gave artists an opportunity to bring local culture to the streets. Many even used their roadway space to create communal seating in the curb lane — a critical need given that over 80 percent of sidewalks citywide are less than 12-feet wide, making it difficult to integrate sidewalk seating with accessible pedestrian flow.”

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez obviously believes the open restaurant program should remain inside his agency. Photo: DOT
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez obviously believes the open restaurant program should remain inside his agency. Photo: DOT

In addition, the signers said that DOT’s $1.4 billion budget — which is 20 times bigger than that of DCWP — will better ensure a successful program that includes “creating and sourcing a standardized and affordable kit-of-parts to guarantee universal accessibility for outdoor dining. … DCWP staff no longer have any in-house expertise or staffing numbers to handle the expanded program.”

Council Speaker Adams’s position on what agency should ultimately run the program is unclear, though the bill, written by Velazquez, puts the program in the DCWP, formerly known as the Department of Consumer Affairs. The mayor favors the Department of Transportation, which, indeed, has posted the job of Director of Open Restaurants on the city job site, as Streetsblog reported.

The letter makes no reference to other thorny issues that still need to be worked out, such as whether outdoor dining will exist all year or only between April 1 and Oct. 31, as the bill currently states. It’s also unclear what the streeteries will look like and how much restaurants will pay for the public space along the curb that’s currently occupied almost entirely for free by car owners.

Neither Speaker Adams nor Council Member Velazquez responded to an immediate request for comment.

The list of signers — which includes the Regional Plan Association, the American Institute of Architects, all five city Chambers of Commerce, many restaurants, business improvement districts, academics and activists — is like a Who’s Who of the overlapping worlds of architecture, urban planning, public space management, design and livable streets advocacy. Here’s the full list of the 270-plus signers:

Maulin Mehta, Alfresco NYC Coalition
Kate Slevin, Executive Vice President, Regional Plan Association
Matthew Clarke, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space
Renae Reynolds, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Sara Lind, Chief Strategy Officer, Open Plans*
Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects New York
Lisa Sorin, President, The New Bronx Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Walker, President & CEO, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Randy Peers, President & CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Thomas Grech, President & CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce
Linda Baran, President & CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Kelly Carroll, Executive Director, Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District
Samara Karasyk, President & CEO, Hudson Square Business Improvement District
Dirk McCall de Palomá, Executive Director, Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District
Kate Chura, Executive Director, Montague St Business Improvement District
Jennifer Falk, Executive Director, Union Square Partnership
Barbara Blair, President, Garment District Alliance
Priscilla Marco, President, Van Duzer Street Civic Association/Stapleton Saturdays
Leslie Davol, Executive Director, Street Lab
Natalie Freihon, Principal, Strange Bird Hospitality
Janet Liff, Principal, J. Liff co.
Mike Lydon, Principal, Street Plans
Eric McClure, Executive Director, StreetsPAC
Paul Glassman, Director of Scholarly & Cultural Resources, Yeshiva University
Jon Orcutt, Advocacy Director, Bike New York
Larisa Ortiz, Managing Director, Streetsense and a former Planning Commissioner
Paula Ortiz, Director, Centro Cultural Barco de Papel
Kathy Park Price and Jackson Chabot, Campaign Leads, Park Slope Plaza
Janette Sadik-Khan, Principal, Bloomberg Associates
Bianka Cypriano, Producer, Salsa Stories
Chad Purkey, Executive Director Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership
Regina Myer, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
Aresh Javadi, Executive Director of More Gardens Fund
Elizabeth Gleason, for the 31st Ave Open Street Collective
Howard Yaruss, NYU
Matthew Anderson and Erika Farber, Partners, Set Solutions NYC
Bill Tsapalas, Founder, Neighborhood Curbside Canvas Project NYC
Clare Miflin, Executive Director, Center for Zero Waste Design
Claire Weisz, Founding Principal, WXY architecture + urban design
Amy Cohen, Co-Founder, Families for Safe Streets
Monica Gonzalez, New York resident
Carlos Martins, New York resident
Pasquale Palmieri Lifelong Harlem resident
Ken Coughlin, Upper West Side resident
Cappy Collins, Physician, Nullary Care, Inc.
Asher Salzberg, Healthcare Project Manager, DLR Group

Architecture types

Matthew Addeo Member. AIANY
Abriannah Aiken, Architectural Designer, DLR Group
Scott Aker, Principal, Hedging Design Group, Architects, PLLC
Socorro Alatorre, RLA LEED AP Senior Landscape Architect
Shane Algiere, Project Manager, Neighborhoods Now
Phillip Anzalone, AIA, Professor and Architect, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Corey Arena, Assoc. AIA Member. AIANY
Danielle Aspitz, Assoc. AIA, KPF
Isaac-Daniel Astrachan Principal, SBJGroup
Ilgar Aziz Architect, Yarpack
Alex Bachrach, Publisher, Architectural Record
German Bahamon, Colab-19
Arpad Baksa, Principal, President SARA|NY
Lisa Becker, DLR Group
Rick Bell, Deputy Director, Columbia University | CBIPS
Madeleine Bell Architect, Cooper Carry
Brenda Bello, Partner, BWArchitects, PC
Victoria Benatar, AIA, Partner, EXD ARCHITECTURE
Ian Bentley, Founder, Bentley Architecture + Design Studio
Nadine Berger, Architect
Nestor Bottino, FAIA Partner, Steinberg Hart
Cornelis Brinkman Principal, Dlab
Christopher Brockhoft, AIA Design Architect, HDR
William Brothers, Principal, WQB Architecture
Steven Browder, Senior Director, Argosy Hospitality Services
Christina Brown, Assoc. AIA, Environmental Performance Specialist, KPF
Meta Brunzema, Architect, Collective for Community, Culture & Environment, LLC
David Bujeda Becerril Architect, DLR GROUP
Roxanne Button, AIA, LEED/WELL/LF AP Principal, Design Synergies Architecture
Jeff Byles, Partnership Director, Being Here Landscape Architecture
Daughtry Carstarphen, AIA Member. AIANY
Stephen Cassell, FAIA, Principal, Architecture Research Office
Melissa Cheing, AIA, WellAP, NOMA Principal, Sydness Architects
Susan Chin, FAIA Principal, DesignConnects
Sandra Chuck, PLA, LEED AP Member. AIANY
Michelle Cianfaglione, AIA Architect and Professor, EXD ARCHITECTURE
Patrizia Cimno, Partner, STOA DESIGN STUDIO LTD
Tess Clancy, Professor, Penn State Stuckeman School
Severn Clay-Youman, Civic Architecture Workshop PLLC
Terry Cohn Member. AIANY
Eugene Colberg, Principal, Colberg Architecture
Brandon Conde, Senior Architect, DXA Studio
Michael Costantin, Principal, Conklin Costantin Architects LLP
Roger Cumming, AIA, Roger Cumming Architecture
Nikolas Dando-Haenisch, AIA Member. AIANY
Erin de Losier, Associate, John B. Murray Architect, LLC
Willis DeLaCour Jr, Partner, DeLaCour, Ferrara Church Architects
Jill Diamant, AIA, Owner, Jill Diamant Architect PLLC
Robert Dillon, Technical Director, vocon
Anthony Dong Architect
Laura Drawbaugh, Landscape Architect, NYC Parks
Naomi Drucker, Senior Associate, RKLA Studio Landscape Architecture
Todd Drucker, AIA DLR Group
Jacob Dugopolski, Associate Principal, WXY Architecture + Urban Design
Alvin Dunaisky, AIA, AICP, NCARB, Assistant Director, Design & Construction, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Phu Duong, , AIA, AICP, LEED AP Principal, NBBJ
Abdallah Elcherbini, AIA, LEED GA, NCARB Principal, EC Architects P.C.
Robert Evans, RA Member. AIANY
Daniel Ferguson, Design Firm Founder, Matus Modern Design
Leah Flax Member. AIANY
Chanel Flores, Assoc. AIA Job Captain, BWBR
Tamara Fou, Urban Planner
Alicia French, Project Manager, DTLS
Karen Frome, Owner, Rise Projects
Janell Furrow, Owner, JJF + Design
Alexis Gagne Associate, MNLA
Tanya Gallo, Director, The Living City Project
Gerard Geier, FAIA, Managing Partner, FXCollaborative
Brian Gillen Member. AIANY
Mark Ginsberg, FAIA, Partner, Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP
Elliott Glass, Architect/Owner, Glass & Glass Architects
Clara Goitia, Member. AIANY
Nicholas Goldsmith, Principal, FTL Design Engineering Studio
Nancy Goshow, AIA Partner, Goshow Architects
Eric Goshow, FAIA Partner, Goshow Architects
Christina Grace, CEO, Foodprint Group Inc.
Hayrettin Gunc, Urban Designer, Global Designing Cities Initiative
Reinaldo Gutierrez, AIA, Vice President, CannonDesign
Alessia Haddad, Assoc. AIA Project Manager, Ralph Lauren
Yarden Harari, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C, ID+C, O+M) Senior Associate, CallisonRTKL
Patricia Harris, Esq., LEED AP Special Counsel, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
Milton Hernandez, Senior Designer, Gesture Ink Architecture
Rafael Herrin-Ferri Architect/Artist/Author,
Roger Hirsch, Principal, Hirsch Corti Architecture
Samuel Holleran, Member, AIANY
Peter Holtzman, Principal Architect, Bespoke Architecture, PLLC
Daniel Horn, Architect, ESKW/Architects & ORLI+
Mikayla Hoskins, PE Associate, Buro Happold
Jessie Hunter Project Manager
Ersan Ilktan, Master of Architecture Student, PRATT SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
Anna Ishii Member. AIANY
Nikita Jathan, Senior Environmental Designer, Atelier Ten
Eva Jensen, AIA, MAA, Principal, Eva Jensen Design, LLC
Jennifer Judge, Principal, Ethelind Coblin Architect, DPC
Salmata Kaba, Programs and Events Coordinator, AIANY
Eleni Stefania Kalapoda, Architect & Urban Designer, Columbia GSAPP
Takeshi Kamiya, AIA, LEED AP Principal, HKS
Michael Kane Member. AIANY
Alsun Keogh, Owner, Nusla Design
George Kewin, AIA, Principal Architect, PPA Architects
Stephen Killcoyne, AIA CPHD Partner, Allen + KIllcoyne Architects
Minsoo Kim Designer, DLR Group
Bruce Kinlin, Principal / Architect, Kinlin Rutherfurd Architects
Jill Klores, Partner, Essential Light Design Studio, LLC
George Kontaroudis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD Member. AIANY
Ian Korn, AIA, LEED Green Associate Associate, McBride Architects
Rebecca Kosar, Architectural Designer, Arquitectonica
Tom Kowalski Principal, TKA STUDIO
Charles Kramer, Architect, Kramer Architecture
Iva Kravitz, Assoc. AIA, Owner, 680 Design, Inc. dba The Iva Agency
Daniel Kreiss, AIA Principal, DesignationDK
Christina Kruise, CNP, Business Operations Funding Specialist, DLR Group
Elissa Kyle, LEED AP Member AIANY
Reyhan T Larimer, Senior Architect
Penny Laughlin Metropolis Group Inc
Charles Lauster AIA, President, Charles Lauster Architect, P.C.
Edmund Liang, AIA, NCARB Architect
Jiazhen Lin, Member, AIANY
John Locke, AIA, Sr. Principal Research Scientist
Gil Lopez, Event & Volunteer Coordinator, Big Reuse
Patricia Lozano Quintana Senior Associate, COOKFOX
Einat Lubliner, Assoc. AIA Member. AIANY
Robert Lucas, AIA Member. AIANY
Giulia Luci, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Steven Winter Associates
Ali Mahjouri, Project Manager, Urbahn Architects
Lawrence Marek, AIA Director of Design, Cherico King Architect
Nicole Markim, AIA Member. AIANY
Melida Marte Architect
Margaret Matz, President, Milestone Architecture PLLC
DJ McCutcheon, Principal, McCutcheon Associates, P.A.
Nicholas McDermott, Director, Design Advocates
Sandra McKee, FAIA, LEED AP Architect, Yoshihara McKee Architects
Charles McKinney Member. AIANY
Alexander McQuilkin, Senior Policy & Data Analyst, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development
Stephanie Miller, Director of PR, HOK
George Mitchell, Principal, Monty Mitchell Architect
Manche Mitchell, AIA, LEED BD+C Architect, Marvel
Sigi Moeslinger, Partner, Antenna Design New York
Stefano Morisi, Principal, DYO design office
Winnie Moy, AIA, LEED AP BC+D Architect, ESKW/A
Jimmy Mui, Architect, J K Mui Design
David Must, Architect
Michael Neal, Architect AIA
Slavica Nikolic, Architect
Kerry Nolan, Senior Associate, Beyer Blinder Belle
Suzanne O’Keefe, Architect
David Obuchowski, Principal, David Obuchowski Architects PLLC
Colleen Okeefe, RA, LEED AP Partner, Livingsystems
John Oleksak, Senior Architect, Retired
Erik Olsen, Managing Partner, Transsolar KlimaEngineering
Edgaras Pantelejevas, AIA, LEED Green Member. AIANY
Theadora Paulucci, Member. AIANY
George Daniel Perry, Architect
Miriam Peterson, AIA Partner, Peterson Rich Office
David Piaker, AIA Partner, FPE Architects
Marc Pittsley Architect, GLUCK+
Michael Plofker, RA Member. AIANY
Merve Poyraz, Associate, STUDIOS ARCHITECTURE
Alicia Rabadan, Project Manager, About the Work
Silke Rapelius, GKV Architects
Gil Retrey, R.A., ASID, Principal, GR Architecture / Interior Design
Elizabeth Rexrode, Principal, Rexrode Chirigos Architects
Caroline Rob, Architectural Historian, Preservation League of New York
Madge Rosenberg Member. AIANY
Flavia Russo, AIA Member. AIANY
Steve Rys Member. AIANY
Amie Sachs, AIA
Amie Sachs Architect, PLLC
Peter Samton, AIA Gruzen Samton
Teresa Santas Architect/Project Manager
Monika Sarac
Associate Vice President, Cannon Design
John Scheschareg, FARA Registered Architect, SARA
Nicole Schmeider, AIA Architect, Gensler
Paula Sevilla Member. AIANY
Justine Shapiro-Kline, AIA, AICP Member
George Shelden, AIA Architect
Kenne Shepherd, Principal, Kenne Shepherd Interior Design Architecture
Jessica Sheridan, AIA Member. AIANY
Anastasia Shimchick, AIA Associate, SOM
Jeffrey Shiozaki, AIA, LEED AP Member, AIANY
Susan Shoemaker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Architect, Progettista
Jeffrey Shumaker, AICP, Founder & President, Urbanscape
Harry Simino, AIA Architect, Simino Architects
Nicholas Solakian Member. AIANY
Andre Soluri, AIA, Principal, Soluri Architecture
Arvind Somvanshi Principal, SOMVANSHI/2
Barbara Spandorf, FAIA, LEED AP Member. AIANY
Danielle Steele Designer, DLR Group
Christoph Timm, AIA Member. AIANY
Bryan Tooze, Associate, Curtis + Ginsberg Architects
Eleonora Maria Tronci, Member, AIANY
Stephen Tsou, AIA Associate
Ronnette Riley Architect
Masamichi Udagawa President, Antenna Design
Sarah Vakili, Director of Strategy, Skanska
Jay Valgora, FAIA, LEED AP, WEDG, AICP Founder and Principal, STUDIO V
D’juro Villaran-Rokovich, AIA, Associate Program Manager, Akerman LLP
William Weigand, Co-Founder, Afoam LLC
Lanhua Weng, Member AIANY
Christine Wentz, RA, Principal, Gran Kriegel Associates
Christina Weppner, Principal Architect, Weppner Architects
Margaret Wood, President, Canwest Ventures LLC
Glen Wood, President, Canwest Ventures LLC
Dan Wood, FAIA WORKac
James Wright, AIA, Member. AIANY
Casimir Yanish Architect,
Carlo Zaskorski, Owner, Zaskorski & Associates, Architects, AIA
Liyang Zhang, Architectural Designer, gdp

Restaurant signers

Lou Martins, General Manager, Casa Azul
Peter Philis, Co-Owner, Home Kitchen
Christian Nunez, Cafe Nunez owner
Romeo Regalli, Ras Plant Based Chef/Owner
Sara Conklin, Owner, Glasserie
Vanessa Ceballos, Owner, Firefly New York
Majora Carter, Owner, The Boogie Down Grind (named Best cafe in NYC by TimeOutNY), South Bronx
Joshua Thies, Daily Press Coffee House and Bar / Management
Kevol Graham, Kokomo Restaurant
Colin Clarke, Founder, Myrtle Wines & Spirits/Vine Cocktail Bar
Patrick Schmidt, HK Hospitality
Julie Park, Owner, Cafe Colette
Victor Chan, Entrepreneur/restaurant owner
Michael Fuquay, Owner, The Queensboro
Marva Babel, Owner, Ode to Babel

* Open Plans is the parent organization of Streetsblog.