Enjoying September Through Open Data

For all the laments surrounding Labor Day, summer doesn’t actually end until September 22nd. These few more weeks of warm nights and late sunsets should obviously be spent outside as much as possible.

So like any normal person, I turned to NYC Open Data to help me out. The Department of Consumer Affairs’ sidewalk cafe dataset lists any business with a sidewalk cafe license within the five boroughs. Also included: the square footage of the area licensed and whether the spot is enclosed or open air. The term “cafe” here is loose: delis with sidewalk seating, fancy restaurants and bars all qualify.


How to Maximize Time Eating/Drinking Outside in NY this September:

1. Hang out just about anywhere in the West Village, along Mulberry Street, 2nd Avenue in the 70s or on Amsterdam Avenue in the 80s.

2. Avoid Brooklyn. Despite the general tilt towards Brooklyn, the borough remains about as sidewalk cafe free as in 2011 when the NYC Economic Development Corporation published this blog post.

3. Have a drink or snack on the Staten Island ferry if you’re headed in that direction: the island is the borough with the fewest sidewalk cafe licenses.

Open Data Observations

1. I used the trade name for the business when available but many in the DCA dataset had that field missing. Some of the legal names are easy to match to the name of the business but others are trickier, such as The 8801 Corp.

2. The date ambiguity in NYC Open Data. This particular dataset was created in 2011 and “updated Sept 05 2014.” Does this mean that data is all up to date as of September 2014, or that only part of the dataset has been updated? Ideally the Socrata portal would make this more clear.

3. But still, god these kind of datasets are fun.