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Community Board: West Village Cafés Are Offering Sidewalk Dining Illegally

Sidewalk cafe

The NYPD is having a hard time dealing with a rash of sidewalk cafe thefts throughout the five boroughs. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Members of Manhattan Community Board 2 on Sunday were frustrated at city officials’ lack of answers as to why several West Village sidewalk cafés have been allowed to operate illegally.

Maury Schott, chairman of the Community Board 2 Sidewalks, Public Facilities and Public Access committee, said the cafés have been allowed to break the laws on al fresco dining in plain sight.

“There’s a substantial issue with this group of cafés, that some are being licensed when they shouldn’t be; some are just being allowed to run cafés without licenses,” Schott said.

Schott said Sant Ambroeus Café and Extra Virgin Café — next door to each other at 259 W. 4th St. — and Tartine Café, 253 W. 11th St., are all operating sidewalk cafés without a license. Morandi’s, 211 Waverly Pl., also does not have a license, but has a café using much of the sidewalk, Schott said.

The restaurants are required to obtain licenses from the city Department of Consumer Affairs, and such licenses are prohibited by zoning in much of the neighborhood, according to published reports.

“We are hoping that the City Council, which has the final authority on sidewalk cafés, is going to step up and ask the question why these cafés, all within a few blocks of each other in the West Village, are being allowed to operate illegally,” Schott told 1010 WINS.

Community Board 2 has been trying in vain to get answers from the Department of Consumer Affairs, according to Schott.

“The biggest problem for us is the Community Board is supposed to be part of this process, and we literally cannot get answers from the Department of Consumer Affairs as to why this situation is continuing,” Schott said.

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