New York City’s Open Streets are officially here to stay. Launched last year during the spring peak of the pandemic, the initiative not only returns much-needed control of the streets to pedestrians, but apparently helps pique the interest of diners, and can even provide a business boost. For instance, per CityLab, restaurants along Prospect Heights’ Vanderbilt Avenue reported an average of 54% more customer visits after the first month of the program.
While the program has its issues — currently, most of the Open Streets are concentrated in wealthier neighborhoods where residents have the time or resources to set out barricades themselves—there’s no denying its popularity. So if you want to spend some summer nights indulging in car-free outdoor dining, here’s a guide to 12 of the best Open Streets-enabled restaurants across the city. (Note: Many of the streets listed below only have certain car-free hours, such as nights and weekends, so it might be worth checking the Department of Transportation’s website before you go.)