Nearly a week into the Phase 2 reopening of New York City, Bay Ridge restaurants are serving patrons for the first time in three months.
Several restaurants in the neighborhood have opened outdoor seating under the city’s Open Restaurants program.
Joe Pally, who went to Pipin’s Pub with his family for dinner, was happy to support the local establishment and get back to some form of normalcy.
“They, along with many of the restaurants, have done a terrific job of setting up outdoor seating with the recommended spacing,” he said. “I walked up and down Third Avenue last night and it was like life was being breathed back into the neighborhood. The businesses really need this.”
“Pipin’s appreciates the loyal customers who have kept us afloat during this uncharted time,” said owner Anthony Bartholomeo. “We are all figuring it out together. Everyone is so happy to be out and enjoying the amazing restaurants of Bay Ridge. We thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.”
Nicole Arbuiso dined at Gino’s and enjoyed the experience.
“We sat at an outdoor table for two, which was partitioned, and treated ourselves to a wonderfully sumptuous meal,” she said. “While they did have a healthy crowd, we felt safe and were able to enjoy our meals without feeling we were too close in proximity to other diners.”
“The response to outdoor dining has been overwhelmingly positive,” Gino’s said in a statement. “Many customers and people passing by have stopped to compliment us as well as say it has a very ‘European’ feel and are hoping it stays. We have noticed more people out on the streets (socially distanced) taking note of other small businesses in the neighborhood.
“We are hoping this draws traffic to those businesses as well. A big part of the restaurant industry is serving and interacting with our customers. It is great to see familiar and new faces all enjoying a meal outside.”
Amanda Zenteno, executive director of the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue BID, spoke about the importance of having the businesses back.
“Everyone has been so supportive of local restaurants during the closure and you can see how much these merchants mean to the neighborhood in every happy face on 5th Avenue,” she said.
Elected officials also took part in the outdoor dining and were happy to see restaurants receiving some business, but still caution citizens to take safety precautions.
“It’s still so important that people stay far apart, wear face coverings when they need to, and respect the phased reopening process,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “We know that COVID is still here and we cannot risk the progress we’ve made.”
“I am grateful and relieved to see so many local restaurants up and running again,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “But of course, we need to keep in mind that we’re not totally out of the woods yet with this virus.”
On May 25, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is on pace to progress to Phase 3 on Monday, July 6, which includes indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.