Chelsea Market has gone outdoors.
Since Sunday, one of New York’s most popular destinations has lined its sidewalks along 15th and 16th Streets with more than 115 socially-distanced tables. Fifteen vendors are offering outdoor seating and 20 of the market’s businesses—normally there are 39—are now open. Tacos, hand-pulled noodles, lobster rolls or gelato? It’s all now available as either part of table service, takeout, delivery or self service.
You’ll now find red bistro tables with black chairs placed in six-foot circles to encourage proper distancing. So called health ambassadors will roam the block between Ninth and 10th Avenues to help ensure people are following safety procedures, from wearing masks to helping customers with ordering. There are QR codes at each table, in addition to two kiosks on 15th Street for ordering, with menus for all the participating vendors.
Early on during the current crisis, 17 of the market vendors stay opened, but the market, which sits next to the High Line, worked with the Department of Transportation to allow for more seating and construction for outdoor dining spaces. According to the market’s website, nearly six million people go through the market each year.
The following businesses now offer table service: Ayada, Buddakan, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, Lobster Place and Miznon.
Other market vendors will have communal seating with online ordering and pickup available: Creamline, Buon’Italia, Doughnuttery, Filaga, Los Tacos No. 1, Mokbar, Seed + Mill, Tings and Very Fresh Noodles. L’Arte del Gelato will also have an outdoor cart.
The Lobster Place, one of the first tenants at Chelsea Market since it opened in 1995, has dabbled with outdoor tables for the past few months. The team expanded the menu in the past few weeks to include grilled lobster and an oyster happy hour 4-6pm daily as more people feel comfortable dining out.
“While it’s been great that we’ve able to have seats since June or so, what makes Chelsea Market unique and special is that it’s not about a single tenant,” says Brendan Hayes, President of the Retail and Restaurant at Lobster Place. “It’s the overall experience of being surrounded by all of the tenants.”
While indoor dining is still off limits in New York, outdoor dining appears to be here for the long haul. Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city will bring back its Open Restaurants program next summer to make al fresco dining more accessible.
“People are craving unique dining experiences again,” says Hayes. “Chelsea Market has always been that place for people—locals and tourists—to come to.”
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