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Cars Are Uninvited Guests When Americans Dine in Parking Lots

  • Guess who’s careening to dinner? Drivers are plowing in
  • Aesthetic challenges pop up, too: ‘It’s not the Via Veneto’
The outdoor movie screen at Kowloon.
The outdoor movie screen at Kowloon.Photographer: Kate Flock/Bloomberg

Outdoor spaces hastily fancified for low-risk dining are keeping thousands of U.S. restaurants from closing permanently. But crashing the dinner party are tropical storms, rats -- and the occasional out-of-control vehicle.

On July 5, five people were injured when a sport-utility vehicle crashed into sidewalk seating outside 12 Corazones restaurant and bar in Queens, New York. Over five weeks, vehicles bulldozed into temporary dining areas in Manhattan, the Brooklyn and the Bronx -- missing customers and staff, but causing thousands of dollars in damage.