Street Seats

Download the application here.

Pearl Street, Manhattan


The Street Seats program enables the creation of seasonal public open spaces, generally including seating and tables, at locations where sidewalk seating is not available. During warm-weather months, when the demand to spend time outdoors increases, Street Seats may temporarily replace a few parking spots in a neighborhood to create an attractive setting for eating, reading, working, meeting a friend, or taking a rest. Watch a time-lapse video of a day in the life of a Street Seat Download an evaluation of the 2011 Street Seats pilot (pdf)


Any type of business or institution (such as a museum or community organization) that owns or operates the frontage at the ground floor of a building may be eligible to install a Street Seat. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and non-profit organizations without frontage can also be eligible, if they work in partnership with a local business that does have frontage. All applications for Street Seats require support from the property owner and the local Community Board. DOT does not charge an application fee.Learn about your Community Board.


All potential Street Seats sites are expected to be both safe and practical. DOT will review all applications to confirm that they meet the below criteria:

  • The site must be a pleasant place to sit. The purpose of Street Seats is to enhance already vibrant street life; there should be complementary adjacent uses – not a blank wall
  • The adjoining sidewalk must be free of major obstructions and fire hydrants, driveways, or bus stops
  • The street characteristics must be deemed suitable for such installations by DOT. Sites close to intersections or driveways or where turns or lane changes occur could be rejected due to safety concerns
  • The lane along the curb cannot be a moving traffic lane at any time of day
  • The parking regulations at the curb must be suitable for the installation. Examples of unsuitable regulations include bus stops, fire zones, authorized vehicle parking, or no stopping zones
  • The site must not have elements obstructing use of the Street Seat or that require regular access such as fire hydrants, driveways, or newsstands. The presence of certain types of underground utilities may render locations unsuitable for Street Seats


Street Seats are attractive installations to enhance neighborhood streets and provide an amenity to support walking and vibrant street life. All installations must include plantings that screen the seating area from traffic while still providing visual permeability across the street and a continuous open edge along the curb. The installations must maintain roadway drainage, allow for wheelchair access, and also allow for access to any below-ground utilities.

There are three Street Seats design options:

  • Platform, applicant’s design. This option is characterized by a platform that is flush with the curb, for easy access. This must be designed with drawings that are signed and sealed by a New York State-certified architect or engineer
  • Applicant's design (Local Café, SoHo, Manhattan)
  • Platform, DOT’s standard design (under development). This option, which is also characterized by a platform that is flush with the curb, is a standard design that DOT licenses to successful applicants. Design costs are thereby eliminated in most cases, but site conditions may still necessitate design solutions that require the drawings that are signed and sealed by a New York State-certified architect or engine
  • Non-platform. This type of Street Seat is directly on the roadbed. Design and installation costs are greatly reduced with this option. The non-platform Street Seat requires a ramp for wheelchair access; this reduces the amount of space devoted to seating or other uses within the space
  • Basis for non-platform Street Seat (Douglaston, Queens)

DOT may add operational enhancements to the site, such as wheel stops, striping on the parking lane, and/or temporary plastic bollards. Click here to review the complete design guidelines (pdf)

Operations and Maintenance

During the months of operation, the installation and surrounding area must be routinely cleaned and maintained by the sponsoring business or organization. Furnishings must be removed or broken down and locked up at night and then put out again each morning. Seating Streets must be non-operational the earlier of:

  • The closing time of the business itself; or
  • Sidewalk café hours (midnight on Sunday night–Thursday night; 1:00AM on Friday night and Sunday night)
To ensure smooth and successful operations, DOT will conduct regular inspections to ensure the Street Seat remains safe, properly maintained, and free from prohibited activity. DOT will order the removal of any Street Seats that are consistently poorly maintained.

Considerations & Requirements

Please consider the following prior to applying to Street Seats:

  • All Street Seats are open to the public
  • The sponsoring business may not take orders nor exchange money on the Street Seat. But if patrons order products inside the business, they may be brought out to them at a table
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption are not permitted, as will be indicated by signage provided by DOT
  • Street sweeping by the Department of Sanitation can proceed as normal along the curb in front of and beyond the installation. Garbage collection occurs at curb area at the nearest end of the installation
  • DOT reserves the right to reject any application for a Street Seat for any reason
Download and review the template agreement for all Street Seats requirements (pdf).


There are four steps in the Street Seats process. Please note that some steps may overlap.

Step 1: Application & Initial DOT Approval
  • Download the application to install Street Seats (pdf)
  • Obtain the support of your property owner or, if you are the property owner, simply sign under "Property Owner's Affirmation"
  • Complete and scan the application and submit it via email or fax. See full submission requirements on the application itself.
  • DOT will review your application to ensure it meets our siting criteria and notify you.

Step 2: Community Board Review

  • Contact your Community Board to request consideration of your proposal as soon as you receive preliminary approval from DOT
  • Present your proposal to the relevant committee at the Community Board (usually the Transportation Committee) for its review. If the committee approves your proposal, it will forward it to the full Board for its review and approval
Step 3: Design Development and Approval
  • Develop your Street Seat design after initial consultation with DOT regarding your options (platform with your design, platform with DOT’s standard design or non-platform design)
  • DOT will draft an agreement regarding the maintenance and care of the Street Seat
  • Submit your design drawings to DOT
  • DOT will review your design drawings and approve them
  • DOT will develop site drawings showing the placement of the Street Seat, the parking regulation signs (if necessary), the wheel stops and the flexible delineators
Step 4: Fabrication and Installation
  • Complete any off-site fabrication of the Street Seat, as necessary, per your design drawings or per the standard design
  • Execute the agreement with DOT and provide the required insurance certificate
  • DOT will issue a notice granting permission and specify an installation date
  • If necessary, DOT will install parking regulation signage at the site
  • DOT will provide wheel stops and temporary plastic bollards after the installation, if deemed necessary


DOT is developing criteria for reimbursing some Street Seat partners on a limited and selective basis.