DUMBO, Brooklyn — It’s new to Dumbo.
Big blue Dumbo-type elephants are now mark which streets in Dumbo are closed on the weekends to encourage outdoor dining and support local restaurants.
In the area known as “down Under the Manhattan Bridge overpas,” the New York City Department of Transportation has closed off four blocks to car traffic and set tables six feet apart with signs about masks and social distancing and which local restaurants to support.
“I think it’s a very good idea,” Jelani Basd, a Clinton Hill resident, told PIX11 News. “You have people mingling in the streets and it allows businesses to prosper and customers to enjoy the day,” he added.
The 22 NYC streets that are now closed off to car traffic on weekends include these four in Dumbo, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Doyers Street in Chinatown and blocks in the meatpacking district, the Lower East Side, Bayside and other neighborhoods.
“As long as regulations are being followed,” said Andres Ayala, a Bushwick resident. “It’s great people are spending money and local businesses are getting supported,” he added.
“This is way, way, way overdue,” said Angela Hakimian, a Great Neck resident. “In Europe, they use every spot they can to sit outdoors. In America, we never did that. A great idea, long overdue,” she added.
This latest round of street closures is to encourage outdoor dining now that Phase 3, starting Monday, will no longer include indoor dining because of COVID-19 spikes in the rest of the country.
Phase 3 still includes the opening of personal services businesses including nail salons and tattoo parlors, which some still have reservations about.
“I don’t know if I am ready for that,” Marianne Batocabe, a Clinton Hill resident, told PIX11 News. “I intentionally went out and bought a pedicure set so I can do it at home. So I guess it really depends on the set up,” she added.
The weekend street closures to encourage outdoor dining will continue until at least the end of August. No timetable yet for when indoor dining can start.