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New York City seeks restaurateurs for curb lane cafés

Telecoms & Tech

New York’s Department of Transportation has been busy this year! Hard on the heels of our story about the city’s partnership with Zipcar comes word that it’s also now seeking applications from restaurants for a new series of pop-up cafés citywide. This past summer, New York City’s DOT partnered with two Lower Manhattan restaurants to pilot the city’s first pop-up café, with outdoor public seating in the curb lane to promote local businesses. Targeting areas where city-licensed sidewalk cafés aren’t permitted (usually because the sidewalks are too narrow), the program was — not surprisingly — a resounding success. Now, the DOT is planning an extended two-year pilot covering the warm months of 2011 and 2012. Specifically, the city aims to partner with restaurants or cafés in up to 12 locations throughout the city’s five boroughs. Interested restaurants can now apply online; the deadline is Dec. 3. Those accepted will be responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of a pop-up café directly in front of their main establishment; they must also select a design and hire their own state-licensed architect/engineer and construction team. DOT can provide technical assistance and make necessary safety improvements to the roadway, such as by applying traffic markings to the street or adding flexible bollards. Pop-up cafés built in New York and California have cost approximately USD 10,000 per restaurant, DOT says. Is there any doubt that heat-weary New Yorkers will welcome additional opportunities to refresh themselves during the summer months? We don’t think so either. Gotham restaurateurs: this one’s for you! And local governments in other cities — time to start planning something similar? Spotted by: Gothamist

Website: www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/sidewalks/popupcafe.shtml

Contact: www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contactdot/assist.shtml

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