Wednesday, July 22, 2009

(Sub)urban Dispatch: Weekly 'Dining Under The Stars' Event On State Street In Media Is Amazing

azie on state street in media
Azie on State Street in Media | Photo via

We've got a soft spot for anything that takes streets back from automobiles and rightfully returns them to pedestrians.

So it should be no surprise that we're big fans of the weekly 'Dining Under The Stars' event in Media, PA.

Every Wednesday evening, the town closes four blocks of State Street in the heart of downtown Media to vehicular traffic and gives back the street to strollers, shoppers and diners, encouraging restaurants to extend their outdoor seating all the way from the sidewalk into the middle of the street.

It has become immensely popular.

From an article in the Delaware County Times:
MEDIA — When the stars come out on Wednesday nights in this Delaware County town, so do the diners, but so do those who just enjoy strolling down State Street in what has become the second “Dining Under the Stars” this summer.
[...]
She said the approach was to give Media a relaxed, European feel with the street closed down.

“People come out just to walk down the middle of the street,” she said. “It gives people a different sense of freedom about the town. This kind of stops the clock. People love it.”

From not worrying about finding a parking space to allowing kids to draw chalk figures on the street, the night has its own flair.

“It’s become more like a family night,” said Zubair Khan, executive director of the Media Business Authority, adding that a table of eight can easily afford a dinner at Dining Under the Stars.
[...]
Khan said hundreds packed State Street this past Wednesday.

“(Wednesday) night, it was like the boardwalk,” he said. “There were so many people.”

In addition, he said visitors are drawn to the outdoor seating. “People will wait 45 minutes to sit at a table outside,” he said.

Anthony Bellapigna of Fellini’s Café Trattoria is a Media restaurateur who’s ready to please the crowd.

He said he’s ready to hoist 80 granite tables to make customers have the ultimate outdoor dining experience.

“Last year, at one point, we put all of our tables out front,” he said. “There’s nothing like dining outside when the weather’s right.”
We would be inclined to agree.

And we'll add that it sounds fucking awesome.

Philadelphia's business improvement districts should take note.

Great candidates include: Baltimore Avenue in University City, East Passyunk Avenue around the Singing Fountain, Fairmount Avenue by Eastern State and 2nd Street in Northern Liberties.

This is how great cities take advantage of summer weather.

Get with the program.

(The new bike lanes on Pine and Spruce Streets are a good start.)

Related:
Dining Under The Stars in Media
[ Visit Media ]
'Dining Under the Stars' in Media a delicious summer hit [ Delaware County Times ]

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