Pop-Up Cafe Pops Up in Lower Manhattan

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A tour bus passes the Wall Street bull in the financial district January 22, 2007.

    No, not a Pop-Tart Café -- you'll have to go to Times Square for your Pop-Tart sushi fix. 

    This is a pop-up café , on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan between Broad Street and Coenties Slip.  It's a temporary seating area outside the Fika coffeeshop and Bombay's restaurant in the Financial District, but it's not limited to patrons of either business -- the space is open to everyone.

    Nevertheless, both businesses expect to benefit greatly from the extra seating.

     “Each and every customer sitting outside is thrilled about this,” Lars Akerlund, co-owner of Fika said in a Department of Transportation (DOT) statement.  “This brings more revenue to the businesses and opens up public place for people to enjoy.”  Added Bombay's owner Prashant Bhatt, "This outside café has been very beneficial to business owners and the general public, NYC has made the right decision and the results shall follow soon."

    The two restaurants paid for the pop-up café and the installation after requesting permission to expand onto the sidewalk from the DOT and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)  earlier this year. The DOT proposed the pop-up café and today DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan cut the ribbon, together with DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz and singer/bike activist David Byrne.

    Fika and Bombay's will remove the installation later this year, and the DOT will then consider pursuing similar pop-up installation elsewhere in the city.

    Pop-up cafés are common in European cities, but cafés in New York have had a harder time adding outdoor seating until recently.  In the past five years, the number of sidewalk cafés has increased by 50 percent in the last five years and is now over 1000 city-wide. Under NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, the DOT has expanded its bike lanes and announced plans to create two pedestrian plazas on 5th Avenue and Broadway.

    “The city's first pop-up café is a great, cost-effective way to help businesses while provide much-needed seating along our crowded sidewalks,” Sadik-Khan said in a DOT statement.  “Innovative interventions like this help make our streets into destinations and improve the quality of life for the thousands of people who live, work and play in Lower Manhattan.”

    By the way, Pop-Tart sushi was not a joke -- it's minced Pop-Tarts wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up, and they're making them at the Pop-Tart World store on Times Square.