Councilman Fights Sunday "Brunch Ban" in Brooklyn

by Ashwin Bhandari
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brunch plate
Parker Michael Knight, flickr

Councilman Steve Levin introduced legislation to remove obscure city law.

Is there a "war on brunch"? New York City Councilman Steve Levin has taken up the cause of "brunch-ers" everywhere by introducing legislation to remove a ban on sidewalk dining before noon on Sundays.

The 30-year old city law traces its roots back to keeping the sidewalks clear for Sunday church services. It wasn't until recently that it landed some Brooklyn cafes in hot water.

Acting on a tip by Brooklyn's Community Board 1, the Departent of Consumer Affairs invoked the rule and ticketed some Greenpoint restaurants they found setting up their tables on an early Sunday morning last month.

Councilman Levin says some residents are unsettled by their growing neighborhood and brunch may be getting the brunt of their ire. "Some residents have taken a lot of issue with the number of restaurants that have opened up, and that has been conflated with this issue of brunch."

Levin says he's spoken to religious leaders to work with them on the issue. "They have all indicated to me that people should eat when they're hungry and not wait until noon to enjoy a nice summer day at a local sidewalk cafe".

The councilman says it's every New Yorker's right to brunch outside when they can. "New Yorkers are all pretty busy. If we have half an hour or 45 minutes that we can spend on a Sunday morning to get a bite to eat, we should do it."

The bill was only introduced on Monday and will take a few weeks before action can be taken says Levin. "Unfortunately for mothers across the city and their kids we're not going to be able to change the law before this coming Sunday."

This year, only restaurants in Brooklyn have been ticketed so far.


 

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