Restaurants in Bronx’s ‘Little Italy’ turning street into open-air plaza

Restaurant owners along Arthur Avenue in The Bronx are bracing for what they hope will be a spike in business.

“Instead of having everyone inside, which we can’t anyway with everything going on, so outside I think it will be perfect,” said Amy Demaj, owner of Luna Cafe.

Starting next weekend, The Bronx’s historic Little Italy will turn into a plaza, or a piazza on the weekends, complete with 100 tables.

Three blocks along Arthur Avenue would be closed to most traffic on the weekends. There would be a 15-foot space in the middle of the street for emergency vehicles and pedestrians.

“For me, it’s a little nerve-racking,” said Jerome Raguso. He owns Gino’s Pastry Shop right off of Arthur Avenue and says he’s already lost business due to the small expansion of restaurants into the street. He fears it will only a lot worse with a piazza.

“Someone called me to make a reservation for four and I took the reservation. They never showed up when I called them back they said they couldn’t find a parking space so they decided to go elsewhere,” said Raguso.

The city’s DOT has already approved the temporary plan which starts next Friday, July 10th. About two dozen restaurants will participate.


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