Bevy of Brooklyn thoroughfares to close to traffic for outdoor dining

Outdoor dining will be expanded on several streets in Brooklyn, City Hall said Thursday.
Photo by Dean Moses

A bevy of Brooklyn boulevards will be closed to car traffic to make room for al-fresco dining each weekend this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

Four stretches of roadway in Dumbo, including Dock Street, Washington Street, Anchorage Place, and Main Street — along with Fifth Avenue in Park Slope and Reed Street in Red Hook — will close to traffic and become open-air restaurants in a marriage of the city’s open-streets and outdoor dining programs. 

“Sometimes one great idea meets another great idea and they come together and create something even better,” the mayor said during a press briefing.

Nearly three miles of “open-air restaurants” will be rolled out citywide, with additional roads to follow in the coming weeks, according to City Hall officials. 

The announcement comes after the mayor and governor both separately proclaimed on Wednesday that the city will halt plants to allow eateries to open for indoor dining in Phase Three of reopening — which is tentatively scheduled for July 6. 

The move also comes on the heels of a push from hospitality trade groups, who have demanded an expansion of outdoor dining as restaurants struggle to keep up with operating expenses due to a downturn in customers.   

While most of the roads being opened for table service are on small side streets, one major artery — Fifth Avenue in Park Slope — will be among the first batch of streets slated for additional al-fresco dining.

Mark Caserta, director of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, said the roadway will be closed between Dean Street and Park Place only on Saturdays from now until Labor Day.

Restaurants will start setting up around 11 am and dining will end by 9 pm to reopen the road, according to Caserta, who said that a 15-foot pathway will be cleared between tables in the middle of the street to allow emergency vehicles to pass through.

A group of Fifth Avenue merchants originally wrote the BID a letter in May requesting the street be closed for dining. With no outdoor dining plan in place at the time, Caserta sent the letter to the city’s Department of Transportation, who got in touch with the business-boosting group earlier this week to get the ball rolling.

Caserta said he hopes the program will expand after this weekend.

“For us this is a pilot,” he said. “We would like to do more.”