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Saturday, June 19, 2021
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‘A burst of hope’ as NYC indoor dining returns to 100% capacity

Chef Daniel Boulud celebrated New York City restaurants reopening indoor dining rooms to 100% capacity on Wednesday (May 19) with a ribbon cutting ceremony at his newest restaurant, Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt in Manhattan.

“It is a historic moment for me in my career, but also a significant moment in New York City as people are coming back to work in person and tourists are starting to visit again,” Boulud said. “The entire city is buzzing once more. The restaurant industry has been devastated, but there has been a burst of hope and energy.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took part in the ribbon cutting, said Le Pavillon’s opening was the “largest restaurant reopening since the pandemic. This is a symbol of New York City coming back right here, right now.”

The 11,000-square-foot restaurant opens for dinner on Thursday (May 20) and will begin lunch service in the fall.

SL Green Realty’s One Vanderbilt is a 1,401-foot-tall skyscraper and is the fourth tallest building in New York City.

French restaurant Le Rivage, on Restaurant Row on 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenue, was a bit quieter than Le Pavillon’s celebratory event.

The bistro’s owner and executive chef Paul Denamiel, who trained under Boulud, said that he was “thrilled” and “happy as a clam” that indoor dining was back to full capacity, but that his restaurant’s block “was a little bit of a ghost town.”

“All the businesses that we coexist with, meaning the theater district, are closed and they are really not going to open up until September 14,” he said. “So we have a few months before that even happens. And unfortunately, all the people who work in that theater industry live around here, they’re not spending money.”

Visitors Gracelyn Nichols and Jorge Guzman from Dallas, Texas were at one of Le Rivage’s outdoor tables for an early dinner birthday celebration as they both had birthdays this week.

“It’s fun to finally be able to go out again, you know, get back to normal,” Guzman said.

Le Rivage has been open for nearly 30 years.

(Production: Roselle Chen, Andrew Hofstetter, Hussein al Waaile)

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