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City Council Approves Purchase Plaza Continuation to Nov. 30th, Then a New Winter Plan

Purchase Street Pedestrian Plaza Rye, NY June 2020 - Aurora

By a six to one vote, the Rye City Council on Wednesday night approved the continuation of the current Purchase Plaza in downtown Rye, as well as a new “winter plan” that will allow continued outdoor dining while opening Purchase Street to vehicle traffic.

Councilwoman Pam Tarlow was the only council member voting against both the continuation of the current Purchase Street Plaza until November 30th as well as the “winter plan” that then continues until the Spring. Tarlow said “Conceptually I love this,” but she then continued “I feel like there are people whose voice are being marginalized.”

Much of the council discussion was around restaurants, that have been supportive of the continuation, versus an subsection of retailers that have complained the plaza has impacted their businesses negatively. Adam Zakka, the owner of Aurora restaurant said “The plaza has been a boon for us” and explained every business needs to adapt and serve the needs of the community. “I will have to lay people off again if we don’t have outdoor space.”

Robin Jovanovich, the publisher of the local Rye Record paper, expressed disappointment saying “the survey [about the plaza] that Carolina [Councilwoman Johnson] compiled is incomplete,” and continued “I really pray that the council does not extend this until there is a public meeting.” She continued to say the merchants feel they are not being listened to.

Jim Sullivan, a partner at Ruby’s and Rye Grill & Bar, who has been effusively supportive at other meetings, continued on Wednesday night. “Why wouldn’t we keep this open?”

What do you think? Leave a comment below.


  1. Would like to understand why some businesses (retailers?) are opposed to continuing the Purchase Street Plaza. Can we get specific reasons? Is there a way to get more information about that?

  2. Rye restaurants should get be creative about how to get business owners on their side…offering coupons to diners for local retailers, giving diners gift cards to local stores for dining (i.e., spend $100 on your meal, get $5 for the pet store or whatever), and/or asking for tips/donations to support a ‘Rye Retail Fund’ or something that can be distributed to local store owners based upon YoY drops in revenue.

  3. It’s getting colder out so assuming they will put up tents? If your going to eat in an enclosed tent you mine as well go in a restaurant!

  4. It seems like downtown Rye is becoming a “Food Mart”. The charm of our town, as exemplified in all the ‘Love Rye’ signs shows a village atmosphere is part of the town. Why close the traffic in the center of the village and destroy the small retail stores ,which are here and adding to our village charm, to survive. I don’t think we want chain stores to fill vacancies which will happen if we don’t let traffic flow through town. It doesn’t sound very desirable to eat in a tent outside in cold to freezing cold weather, no matter how many heating lamps are turned on. Results will be the restaurants can’t survive, they’ll close and we’ll have a ghost town…it doesn’t sound like the approach Rye City should take. We need a better solution than the one offered to help all owners in Rye City businesses survive so we can all “love Rye”.

    • Ann – which traffic light and what is wrong with it? Tough for the City to fix something if they don’t know what the problem is.


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