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Outdoor Dining Transforms the North End Overnight [Photos & Videos]

Even longtime North Enders who have “seen it all” have been watching in wonderment the overnight transformation of the North End’s streets and squares into European-style cafes and piazzas, complete with umbrellas, plants and even music. After just one weekend, it is clear to even a casual observer that swapping parked cars for dining tables has created much more than what was expected.

While the catalyst for the cafe zones was to help restaurants recover from the COVID-19 shutdown, many have long been pushing for this type of outdoor dining and would like it to stay beyond just this season, a decision to come later.

Business owners, visitors and the press are completely enthralled with the changes. Residents are a bit more measured, based on reactions from last week’s meeting with Mayor Walsh and State Rep. Michlewitz. Most are happy to see economic activity return while questioning the long-term consequences of traffic and quality of life issues.

Of course, not all of it has come without some controversy. Some are concerned that outdoor dining will be a victim of its own success and contribute to a COVID-19 outbreak without proper safety protocols and enforcement. Tables are supposed to be spaced 6 feet apart or have plexiglass dividers.

Residents also asked city officials to increase code and traffic enforcement related to fire and pedestrian safety. Also yet to be announced are the details of the resident parking arrangement the city has set up at Government Center Garage.

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2 Replies to “Outdoor Dining Transforms the North End Overnight [Photos & Videos]

  1. Please correct me if I’m wrong…I don’t see too many masks being worn and I do not see social distancing (as in 6 feet apart) in all of these photos. Has the pandemic ended?
    I also have a few concerns as there are parking spots that are for “emergency vehicles only” and there are now seating in those spots. I also see that Prince Street (where Artu is) is so full of tables and chairs and barriers, umbrellas, plants, flowers, etc that there isn’t room for a car to go down there. What if there is an emergency and an ambulance or fire engine has to get there? Is anyone from Inspectional Services Department or any other city of boston agency monitoring the North End with the outdoor seating? Please don’t take this the wrong way, the restaurant owners in the North End have lost a lot of money in the last four months but I don’t think this “outdoor seating” is equal and fare to everyone. Some businesses aren’t on the side of the street where there’s parking and they don’t have a spot to use. The restaurant may be on a corner. It varies.
    Please inform as I see lots of fire hazards as I walk around. I feel it’s going to get worse as the weather gets warmer.

  2. I like this new thing I think it should continue obviously they’ll have to be some adjustments espically when the processions go down Hanover Street what a way for people eating outside to cheer on a parade like that. I think the North End needs that vibe. The distancing still needs to have a bit but it looks great. I would like to see cars banned for those summer months if possible. The Gov’t Center Garage should hook folks up. Hope to swing by there soon and check it out.

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