A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 02, 2012
Gutter Café (Gutter Dining)

Brooklyn’s Smith Street was awarded the borough’s first “gutter café” (also called a “pop-up café”) in March 2011. Restaurant seating is quite literally in the street, usually surrounded by large planters. The experience has also been dubbed “gutter dining.”


The Brooklyn Paper
March 16, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Cobble Hill / Brooklyn Restaurants
Smith Street will get borough’s first ‘gutter cafe’!
By Laura Gottesdiener
To find the perfect picnic spot this summer, you might have to put your mind in the gutter.

A portion of Smith Street near Warren Street will become the borough’s first “pop-up café” — part of a pilot program begun last summer in Manhattan — that will replace a parking space with bistro tables and planters.

New York (NY) Post
Smith Street will get borough’s first ‘gutter cafe’!
Pop-up eatery to be built on Smith Street

By Laura Gottesdiener
Courier-Life
Last Updated: 11:21 PM, March 23, 2011
Posted: 11:21 PM, March 23, 2011
To find the perfect picnic spot this summer, you might have to put your mind in the gutter.

A portion of Smith Street near Warren Street will become the borough’s first “pop-up café” — part of a pilot program begun last summer in Manhattan — that will replace a parking space with bistro tables and planters.

The Village Voice—Fork in the Road blog
Community Board Says ‘Um, No’ to DOT’s Pop-Up Curb Cafés
By Rebecca MarxFri., Mar. 25 2011 at 10:15 AM
Well, so much for the Department of Transportation’s utopian vision of gutter dining in Soho: Last night, Community Board 2 voted to reject all but one of the pop-up cafés that the DOT had proposed for the neighborhood. The cafés, which would extend from the sidewalk six feet into the road, are the project of DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who had previously tested the concept in Cobble Hill and the Financial District. The New York Post reports that last night’s meeting drew vociferous opposition to the proposed cafés; five of the six were ultimately rejected.

Eater NY
9:19 AM, Mar. 25 2011
Pop-Ups
Community Board 2 Rejects All But One Pop-Up Gutter Cafe

In a huge setback for the Department of Transportation’s plans to add pop-up cafes—so-called “gutter cafes” because they sit just beyond the curb—to the streets of New York, Soho and the Village’s Community Board 2 voted to deny all but one application in its district.

NearSay
Sean Sweeney Fri, Mar 25, 2011
DOT’s Pop-Ups Pooped Out
In a striking rejection of a pilot program by the Department of Transportation to encourage New Yorkers to eat in the gutter, Community Board 2 Thursday evening overwhelmingly rejected seven of eight applications for so-called “pop-up” cafés. 
(...)
Sidewalk cafes may be pleasant amenities on wide, commercial boulevards. However, the City in its wisdoms restricts them to commercial districts because the noise, crowds, garbage and vermin they generate cause too many problems in residential neighborhoods. DOT sought to sidestep the law that prohibits them in residential districts by placing them, not on the sidewalk, but in the street by the gutter, mere inches from moving traffic and their harmful emissions. What a way to run a restaurant from the agency that can’t fix its own potholes!
(...)
Astonishingly, DOT representatives pointed out that these gutter cafés are popular in – get this – Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Can you believe that this agency wants the Greatest City in the World to resemble the provincial capital of a tiny peninsula somewhere in the north Atlantic Ocean? What are these guys tripping on, diesel fumes?

Curbed NY
Angry Downtowners Rise Up Against Outdoor Seating, Canada
Friday, March 25, 2011, by Joey Arak
Last year the Department of Transportation launched a pilot program that allowed some Financial District restaurateurs to turn a few parking spots into temporary outdoor café seating, which everyone seemed to love, including David Byrne. But what’s good for FiDi is not necessarily good for the rest of downtown, it seems.
(...)
On NearSay, Sweeney has written a piece celebrating the “striking rejection” of this proposal “to encourage New Yorkers to eat in the gutter.”

New York magazine
Bask in the Gutter
By Lauren Murrow
Published May 15, 2011
After an experimental debut last August in front of Fika Espresso Bar and Bombay’s restaurant on Pearl Street, city-approved curbside pop-up cafés—affectionately known as “gutter cafés” for their parking-spot-size proportions—are multiplying this month, in midtown (O’Casey’s, 22 E. 41st St.; Le Pain Quotidien, 708 Third Ave.), Soho (Local, 144 Sullivan St.), and Cobble Hill (Ecopolis Café, 180 Smith St.).

Curbed NY
Curbed Awards ‘11 Neighborhoods: Landmarks, NIMBYs, Rants!
Thursday, December 29, 2011, by Lockhart
(...)
Best Neighborhood Beef Over Outdoor Dining and Canada
So someone this year came up with the seemingly nifty idea to replace certain parking spaces with platforms for outdoor dining. How delightful! Well, not to the sort of Soho residents who attend community board meetings and made sure the scourge of “gutter dining” didn’t spread to their hood. The method used to discredit the plan? A comparison to Canada: “Astonishingly, DOT representatives pointed out that these gutter cafés are popular in—get this—Halifax, Nova Scotia. Can you believe that this agency wants the Greatest City in the World to resemble the provincial capital of a tiny peninsula somewhere in the north Atlantic Ocean? What are these guys tripping on, diesel fumes?”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • (0) Comments • Friday, March 02, 2012 • Permalink