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New York warms up to rule on restaurant patio heaters

September 25, 2007|From Newsday

new york -- New York City announced new rules Monday that will let restaurants use patio heaters.

The move will be a boon to the almost 1,000 restaurants in the five boroughs that have outdoor seating, and might encourage more to join their ranks. Industry representatives said they were "delighted" by the city's decision to allow the outdoor heaters, which would be powered by natural gas.

"Everyone likes to be seen, and many of our customers do prefer outdoor dining," said Eric Estrada, a manager at Cafeteria in Chelsea. "If it means keeping the patio open longer, I think the owners will be interested in space heaters."

The gallery owners and clubgoers who frequent Cafeteria often sit down for dinner at 10 p.m. or later, and the restaurant is open 24 hours.

To install the heaters, a restaurant must first have a sidewalk cafe license from the Department of Consumer Affairs. The owner must get clearance from the Department of Buildings to install gas lines.

Restaurants also will need to acquire a Fire Department certificate of fitness to show that staffers are competent to supervise the heaters.

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