The heat and humidity could not keep some New Yorkers from grabbing a bite to eat with friends this weekend.
It's something they've been unable to do since the city banned indoor dining at restaurants to stop the spread of COVID-19. But this week, the city shut down traffic on 22 streets, clearing out the cars to make space for people to eat outdoors.
The Dyckman Street restaurant strip in Upper Manhattan was included in the first round of restaurants allowed to use street space for outside seating on summer weekends through July and August.
Mayor de Blasio announced that later this month other dining zones will take effect.
The street dining is an expansion of the existing Open Streets program. The initiative shut down miles of car traffic across the five boroughs to give people more space to enjoy the outdoors, while social distancing.
Restaurants along these streets will be able to set up tables and chairs on the pavement on Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. They are also required to keep sanitary spaces and enforce safety guidelines.
Nicole Fox is originally from San Francisco, one of several U.S. regions that have reversed reopening plans because of a spike in coronavirus cases.
She said she agrees with how New York is handling the crisis..
"They went way too fast,” Fox said, referring to San Francisco.
The capacity inside the restaurants is larger than what they can accommodate outside, which is why some of them are limiting their service to two hours per seating.
All the changes have not been easy to get used to for some. And yet, whether its sidewalk, curbside or street seating, eating outdoors is an improvement from only being limited to do takeout.