NYC eatery Gene's Restaurant starts outdoor dining after bike rack struggle

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A popular NYC restaurant is finally taking advantage of outdoor dining during the pandemic thanks to some help from 7 On Your Side and celebrity fan Sarah Jessica Parker.

The regulars followed the drama involving their favorite eatery versus the bike rack that blocked outdoor seating for the century-old Gene's Restaurant.

Their village neighbor, Sarah Jessica Parker, shared the 7 On Your Side story after weeks of back and forth with the Department of Transportation, the city council and eventually the mayor.

"Yes we are gonna help Gene's stay alive," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on July 22.

Within days, the bike rack blocking their road to recovery was removed.

"The fight you put up was the best, you deserve an award, there was no one there to help them," said Gene's regular customer Jim Manning.

Closed for over four months, David Ramirez and his brother Danny quickly built a platform for tables as soon as the street was cleared.

Not only was 7 On Your Side able to help Gene's, but two other restaurants on the corner were able to have outdoor seating and several other restaurants called with the same dilemma.

The owner of Hibernia Bar, Sean Burger, said he was only doing about 25% of his business.

The bar on 50th Street in Midtown has called and written the DOT to relocate a bike rack so they can expand onto the street, but so far it hasn't budged.

"Who knows when we'll be back up open on the inside, when we can afford to pay the rent," Burger said.

The city says all street furniture will be moved on a case-by-case basis.

Restaurant owners should file a request, including photos or diagrams of their outdoor seating plan

Gene's succeeded with our help, but believes other voices can make a difference.

"You and 7 On Your Side knocked down some barriers and amplified my voice and Sarah Jessica Parker picked up on it and it was that loudness," Ramirez said.

RELATED | Big win for landmark New York City restaurant in Citi Bike battle
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Nina Pineda has more on the big win for the 100-year-old Gene's Restaurant.



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