This was the week when restaurants in New York City could introduce sidewalk dining. Kosher restaurants rushed to buy little tables, chairs, and umbrellas to be neatly placed at curbside. Most restaurant tables I saw in Brooklyn had no more than 2-3 people. It so much reminded me of Europe. Outdoor dining is a pastime for many there as they watch passing pedestrian traffic and enjoy a breeze or two. The discussion at the tables was whether this type of dining would become the “new normal,” which seems to be what people are talking about every change that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic.
I always used to wonder what Europeans find so fascinating about outdoor dining. To be sure we’ve always had some outdoor dining, but it was always accompanied by a waiter’s query” inside or outside.” One waiter explained it this way: “Somehow you feel freer dining outdoors. I can’t imagine a just released prisoner going out for the first time opting for indoor dining.” He continued: “It’s exactly how we feel after the long lockdown and not being able to go out to eat. Perhaps the Europeans get that!