Wind Topples Odeon Restaurant Sidewalk Shed, Injuring One Person

As The Odeon shed lay on West Broadway, firefighters work to disassemble it. Photo: Rand Hardy

Dec. 07, 2021

Heavy winds blew over The Odeon restaurant’s outdoor shed Monday evening, injuring one person. 

As customers dined beneath the tent-like covering around 8:50 p.m., the structure “flipped over” from the sidewalk side onto the street. “Thankfully, it wasn’t like it got flattened from above. It cleared everybody under the structure,” Steve Abramowitz, director of operations for the famed Tribeca eatery, at 145 W. Broadway, told the Trib in a phone interview.

Firefighters on the scene of The Odeon's toppled shed. Credit: Rand Hardy 

The woman who was hurt, Abramowitz said, was getting into an Uber when the shed blew over. “I think the structure hit the door of the Uber as she was getting in and then hit her shoulder, so she has a bruised shoulder. She was mobile. She wasn’t incapacitated in any way.”

The FDNY said the woman was treated at the scene.

“Fire trucks arrived immediately, and firefighters quickly chopped up the debris,” Rand Hardy, a nearby neighbor, said in an email. 

A notice issued by the city at 9:14 p.m. on Monday warned of winds exceeding 40 miles an hour.

“It seemed like a freak microburst because we’ve had the structure up since last year with much more severe wind,” Abramowitz said, adding that the rebuilt shed will be reinforced with 4-by4 wood posts and the restaurant will “abandon the tent structure because it seemed like that created a sort of hot air balloon effect. Just lifted the whole thing off.”

Restaurateurs are still awaiting guidance on structural standards for the sheds, “and that’s the challenge, Abramowitz said. 

The outdoor sheds are regularly inspected, and The Odeons passed its most recent safety check, according to the citys Department of Transporation, which oversees the city program.

“As we develop guidelines for the permanent Open Restaurants program, safety, accessibility and enforcement are our top goals to avoid situations like this,” DOT spokesman Seth Stein said in an email statement. We must make sure the permanent program takes everything into account to ensure this incredibly popular program remains a success.” 

The citys outdoor seating program, which appears destined to become permanent, has been at the center of controversy and litigation, with opponents complaining about the structures impact to neighborhood quality of life.