When I heard Lokal got a citation for serving Brunch on the sidewalk before noon on Sunday because it would prevent people from making it to church, I thought, “You gotta be kidding me!” Aetheism, laziness and in my experience hangovers are what stop people from attending. But let’s hear what my badass and hilarious preacher Ann Kansfield has to say:

Dear Members of Community Board 1:

This letter is in regard to sidewalk café seating, specifically the City prohibition against outdoor seating before noon on the Lord’s Day. The notion that sidewalk dining in some way restricts, inhibits or in any other way interferes with church attendance is utter hogwash. Consequently, I respectfully request that you not cite religious observance, specifically church attendance, as an argument against sidewalk dining. Unless a local clergyperson or other representative from a faith community actually complains about an issue, it is not an issue for us. To my knowledge, neither I, nor none of my clergy colleagues, have voiced any complaint about this issue.

Two observations might be additionally relevant. If there were so many church-going people in Greenpoint and Williamsburg that sidewalk seating would interfere with church attendance, all of our churches would be packed full of people. This is not the case.

Sunday morning worship at the Greenpoint Reformed Church is so exciting and my sermons are so riveting and life-changing that sidewalk seating in no way keeps our congregation from attending services here. We simply traverse along the empty portion of the sidewalk and are able to get to church.


Lastly, regarding the law itself. By only pertaining to Sundays, the law clearly discriminates against others who observe Sabbath on other days of the week. Therefore, it would be my hope that the community board would petition the City to eliminate the law all together.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Ann Kansfield
Greenpoint Reformed Church

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  1. I am as secular and atheist as they come, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that Lokal, Five Leaves, and all other restaurants with outdoor-cafe permits (which doesn’t include Nights and Weekends) signed a document that said they would not have outdoor seating until noon on Sundays. Follow the rules while you work to change them.

    1. Sherry: I agree.
      Also, there may be other reasons against not allowing outdoor seating before noon on Sunday. I’m just saying that getting to church isn’t one of them.

  2. I mean, i would love to believe that this is just about “enforcing the law” but since the Public Safety Comm/CB 1 is not going after the continual law-breaking of Billys Lock & Key as they park park park “illegally” in the No Standing/Loading zone i will have to believe that this is just a petty attack on the restaurants. Super Lame!

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