After the Snowstorm: Finding Food in New York City

With dining-out options already few and far between because of COVID, the recent snowstorm has only made things worse for residents and visitors to the Big Apple.

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Food carts were one of the few options left to New Yorkers immediately after the storm. (Photos: David Kidd)
Like much of the Northeast, New York City endured a massive storm last week, the biggest in five years. More than a foot-and-a-half of snow blanketed the five boroughs, disrupting schools, restaurants, above-ground subways and COVID vaccinations. Already stuck at home because of the pandemic, and with nowhere to go and little to do, the city was much calmer than is typical during a major weather event. Still, people need to eat. Governing was on the ground in Midtown Manhattan the day after the storm, to see what options there were for hungry New Yorkers.


 More than 10,000 establishments participate in “Open Restaurants,” the city’s outdoor dining initiative, which was suspended during the storm.  


 Snowed-in rows of tables and chairs in Times Square, a part of the city rarely unoccupied.  


 With sanitation trucks pressed into service as plows, trash piled up on the city’s sidewalks, making outside dining that much less appealing.


 This tent-covered sidewalk restaurant managed to survive the storm intact. Others like it did not fare as well when a winter storm hit in December.


A mobile vendor in search of customers in Times Square.

Exempt from restrictions imposed by the mayor, food deliveries helped keep the city fed. 

Opened just a month ago, the new Moynihan Train Hall offered little more than giant pictures of people enjoying themselves in yet-to-open restaurants.  


As the storm waned, the ban on outdoor eating was lifted and more people ventured outside in search of food. Restaurants are prohibited from serving customers indoors until mid-February. 


David Kidd is a photojournalist and storyteller for Governing. He can be reached at
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