On Thursday, the city tore down an elaborately decorated $25,000 outdoor dining shed that belonged to a Manhattan arts hotspot, and the owners are upset about it, The Post has learned.
“This is all our livelihood. We put every penny into this place,” said Mimi Blitz of Pinky’s Space restaurant and art gallery, who said she received “no warning” that her disco ball and neon-lit structure would be demolished by Department staff. Of transport. .
“I’m very excited about that.”
The city inspected the 30-foot shed at East First Street and First Avenue earlier this month but said nothing about plans to tear it down, he said.
They told him only to get rid of a vending machine that was “not food related” and to pick up a 6-foot trash can in the recreation area between the shed and the sidewalk, Blitz said.
She said she immediately removed the machine and admitted she couldn’t move the container because some of the movers didn’t show up.
But she said DOT workers never mentioned this as a reason for its demolition when they arrived to tear down the shed on Thursday, and in fact gave her no reason at all.
“They didn’t tell us why. They said we had orders from the city to remove this,” Blitz said.
Workers dismantled everything from the shed’s wooden beams and artificial grass to the decorative chandelier and small garden.
She said she got so angry she tried to stop them, but the police threatened to arrest her.
“The police said they will arrest you if you don’t move. They said the structure is going to fall or the structure is going to fall and we are going to arrest you,” he said.
The DOT said the owners had three separate warnings about noncompliance and removal of the shed as of August.
“Open restaurants helped save the industry during the height of the pandemic and have made our streets more vibrant public spaces,” said DOT spokesman Vincent Barone.
“As we create a permanent program, we will continue to remove abandoned sheds and those with a history of serious violations to address quality of life complaints.
The city has already removed dozens of outdoor dining sheds in recent weeks and said it is considering more regulations for those remaining two years after the pandemic sparked the trend.
The crackdown comes after some Manhattanites complained that the structures have attracted rodents and resulted in blighted streets.
“We were still fighting the pandemic, but we made it work. And then someone comes along and takes it away for no reason,” she said.
She said she now wants the city to replace the colorful shed.
“We want our seat back,” he said. “It was built with love and care.”
The Transportation Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.