“This sort of space, it beautifies the neighborhood, it’s a great feeling after being sequestered inside,” said Giselle Deiaco, Partner of Avena Downtown Osteria.

Avena Downtown Osteria is one of the many spots that's now open for outdoor dining in Greenwich Village.

Her staff was bustling before the pandemic, with 16 employees. But now with phase two, she's back at 50 percent her usual staff.

They offered take out at the beginning of April and free food to those in need in the neighborhood. Now she's focusing on the now, with strict safety protocols in place.




“We purchased all the PPE, a lot of soap, masks, the plastic shields,” Deiaco said.

Deiaco provided a weekly allowance to her employees to help them get by.

“Through it all, I see the glass half full. You have to get up, you have to be open, you have to show up, you have to show up for your neighbors,” she said.

The owners of Avena Downtown Osteria are using the reopening guidelines to beautify their restaurant. They just bought all these flowers and greenery to help social distance the tables, also adding to the aesthetic of the restaurant.

But for some, dining al fresco can be a challenge.

"For one thing I don't think everyone will wear a mask and I don't want to ask people to do that,” said one patron.

Italian spot PastaEater recently got the green light for extra tables on their nearby sidewalk, a small victory in this devastating time.

“It’s very, very hard to survive in the business,” said Luigi Cetrulo, owner of PastaEater.

The restaurant transitioned into a grocery store during the pandemic.  Business suffered, down nearly 90 percent.  For Cetrulo, this second act is personal.

“This is a restaurant right but for me it’s my home, it’s like my house. When a customer comes in, it’s like my family,” said Cetrulo.

A step in the right direction as the heartbeat of the city begins to come alive again.