Brooklyn Pop-Up Café Wins Community Board 2 Endorsement

The city's first pop-up café, in the Financial District, is heavily used and good for local business. Photo: Ian Dutton

Brooklyn’s only proposed pop-up café won the approval of Community Board 2 last night in an 18-10-1 vote, allowing the city to replace on-street parking with public seating. This pop-up is sponsored by the Ecopolis Café on Smith Street, which will pay the cost of building the temporary public space.

The Ecopolis pop-up had received unanimous approval from the board’s transportation committee, according to member Mike Epstein. At the full board meeting, however, Epstein said that just about every comment or question on the topic came from opponents of the proposal. Most were concerned about parking. Some were assuaged by the fact that DOT has allowed community boards to have complete veto power over pop-up cafés in their neighborhoods, Epstein reported, meaning that the board could ensure that there would never be more than one on a given block.

In Lower Manhattan, the city’s first pop-up café increased business at the two sponsoring restaurants by 14 percent. Even so, vocal opposition from Sean Sweeney and his SoHo Alliance led the local community board to turn down six of seven proposed pop-ups for SoHo and Greenwich Village last month.