Smith Street will get borough’s first ‘gutter cafe’!

Trading ‘spaces’! Parking lanes may get sidewalk cafes this summer
NYC Department of Transportation

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 owners of Ecopolis Café, a small coffee and sandwich shop that focuses on locally grown food, get to be the lab rats for the 25-foot-by-6-foot space — and they couldn’t be more pleased.

“What’s appealing to us is the extension of public space near our café,” said owner Patricia Simono Boyce, who opened the tiny eatery 10 months ago.

The city received 12 applications to host various versions of the gutter cafe — but Ecopolis was the only entry from Brooklyn. Its version will take up only one metered parking spot.

“In weighing the loss of one parking spot against the value of adding an activity and dimension to the street and street activity, hosting [Brooklyn’s] first ‘Pop-up cafes certainly wins out,” Bette Stolz, the director of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, wrote in a statement.

Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee agreed, voting unanimously on Tuesday to support the café.

Boyce will pay for the platform’s installation, which the city pegs at $10,000, and the cost of the planters, tables, chairs and upkeep. The upside for Boyce is more seating for customers to relish the food, which includes egg creams made with Fox’s U-Bet syrup, beloved by Borough President Markowitz.

In keeping with her eco theme, Boyce is looking to build the platform with reclaimed wood joists from a 1920s Red Hook warehouse and the railing with a recycled metal grating from the Transit Authority.

The issue will be taken up by Community Board 2 [121 DeKalb Ave. between St. Felix Street and Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene, (718) 596-5410], April 13, 6 pm.

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