By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman Stephen Levin and his colleague, Councilman Dan Garodnick, found a fitting way to celebrate the passage of their bill that allows restaurants to open sidewalk cafes earlier for weekend brunch. The two lawmakers enjoyed a morning cup of iced coffee on Wednesday at a sidewalk café near City Hall.
Later that day, the council approved the bill, clearing the way for restaurant owners to open before noon on Sundays. Sidewalk cafes will now be able to open at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Levin (D-Williamsburg-Greenpoint) and Garodnick (D-Upper East Side) said they were sipping their iced coffees at Edward’s Café to pay homage to the sacred New York City pastime of outdoor brunching.
Under the old law, restaurants were prohibited from operating sidewalk cafes prior to noon on Sundays.
“New Yorkers will not be denied their Sunday brunch in the beautiful weather,” Garodnick said. “This regulation is outdated, widely disregarded, and hostile to business,” he said.
“This law has been on the books for far too long and does not reflect the reality that New Yorkers eat brunch before noon on Sundays, they prefer brunch to lunch, and that they are hungry to eat brunch outdoors,” said Levin, referring to the 10 a.m. rule.
“The time for waffling has passed and today the City Council stands resolute in their support of brunch,” Levin added.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the issue is more important than just eggs Benedict. “Brunch is more than just a celebrated New York City tradition. It’s an economic force for small business restaurants in the summer months, when New Yorkers look forward to spending time outside,” she said.
“Our legislation will lift restrictions on hours of operations at sidewalk cafes and help support small businesses, and I thank Council Members Levin and Garodnick for their work on this bill,” Quinn said.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance, an organization of restaurant owners, agreed with Quinn. "This legislation is pro small business, pro brunch, pro people watching and pro New York City. The additional two hours of operating time will allow restaurants to generate some much needed revenue and will surely be welcomed by brunch loving New Yorkers and our visitors," he said.