New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that the agency is accepting applications from businesses interested in participating in the City's innovative Pop-up Café pilot program to create more accessible public space while promoting and partnering with local businesses. The program is intended to provide outdoor public seating in areas where sidewalks are too narrow to get approval for outdoor cafés, using curbside space to establish seating areas that are sponsored by local businesses. The first Pop-up Café in New York City opened earlier this year on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan and was jointly sponsored by Fika Espresso Bar and Bombay's restaurant, who report that business is up as much as 14% since the Pop-up Café was installed in August. The City is looking to build on this success by expanding the program in 2011 to include interested businesses in all five boroughs.
"Small businesses are the backbone of New York City's economy and we need to do everything we can to help them through today's difficult economic climate," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "The City's first Pop-up Café has been both an innovative public space and also an economic boon, and now enterprises across the city can buy in to this cost-effective, creative use of our streets."
Businesses interested in participating in the 2011 Pop-up Café Program can apply through the DOT's Web site at www.nyc.gov/dot/popupcafe. Local partners would be responsible for the cost of design, construction and maintenance of each Pop-up Café, which must also meet the City's technical criteria and design guidelines before they can be approved.
This is the first Pop-up Café program in New York City. For the initial Pop-up Café on Pearl Street, DOT oversaw the installation of the 6-foot-wide wooden platform, landscaped with planters, wire railing and furnished with 14 café tables and 50 chairs, which will soon be removed for the season. The innovative, temporary new curbside seating platform provided workers, residents and visitors on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan with a needed public space to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a quick sandwich, or just to take in the area's busy streetscape.
"The Pop-up Café has been like night and day for our business, transforming a loading zone full of trucks into an attractive space that makes our storefront much more visible and accessible to potential customers," said Lars Akerlund, owner of Fika Espresso Bar. This green oasis has really opened up the street, drawing more foot traffic and making the whole area more appealing."