NYC restaurateur blasts city over outside dining shed being used as a love shack: ‘Precinct doesn’t care’

A Manhattan restaurateur is speaking out after discovering her Greenwich Village outdoor dining shed is being used as a sex den and the city and the police have failed to help her stop the XXX-rated activities.

Emmeline Zhao owns the Silver Apricot which, since the advent of COVID-19 restrictions, has relied heavily on its outside dining space. But drug-using vagrants have repeatedly broken into the shed to shoot up, have sex, or relieve themselves — activities that were caught on video and subsequently exposed by the New York Post.

Zhao, 33, says the shocking situation makes her stomach churn, but she has received little in the way of help from city officials.


[Video: New York Post]

“Truly, the lack of guidance from the city is frustrating,” she told The Post. “The problem is the precinct doesn’t care, either.”

The graphic video, which shows a woman performing oral sex on a man slumped against the shed’s plywood, was understandably upsetting to Zhao. Unable to afford a real gate that would prevent homeless intruders from breaking in, the restaurant owner erected a temporary wire fence.

Like many NYC restaurants, Zhao’s ability to serve customers outside was crucial to keeping her newly-opened, critically acclaimed American-Chinese eatery afloat in a COVID world. But with the “lifeline” came the repeated need to call the cops on vagrants in her shed who, according to Zhao, are “probably high and taking up space, leaving human sh*t everywhere.”

NYPD has told Zhao that, unless the intruders are an immediate “danger” to her, they are unable to do anything about the problem.

“Do I need to actively be catching them shooting up for [officers] to do anything about it?” she asked.

It is a problem that has affected many of the city’s restaurateurs, as the homeless have highjacked their empty dining sheds and used them as makeshift toilets and shelters.

More than 12,500 restaurants participate in the Big Apple’s Open Restaurant program, which permitted the sheds at the start of the pandemic as a way to keep the city’s eateries from going under. But many in the city have witnessed the sleazy after-hours use of the sheds by the homeless and believe, lifelines aside, they present a problem for New Yorkers.

“It’s like manifest destiny of tables. They have 10 tables inside and 60 tables outside,” said Village resident David Gruber. “For people who live here, it’s a problem.”

Gruber, 76, is one of the dozens of New Yorkers who are suing to shut down the outdoor dining sheds, despite the support they have received from NYC Mayor Eric Adams.

From Gruber’s perspective, the sheds are leaving the streets of his city full of rats, smelling foul, and filthy, and the restaurant owners just “don’t care.”

“We can’t have them in perpetuity like the mayor wants,” Gruber said.

According to Zhao, the city’s homeless problem is “not something the restaurants can fix.”

“And it’s not something the restaurants are making worse,” she stated.

Guy Gladstein works as a server at the Silver Apricot, and he only has to look across the street from his place of employment to know the restaurants aren’t to blame for the fallout the city’s homeless population has created.

“Restaurants aren’t the reason people are sh*tting on the street,” he said, pointing to a pile of human feces gracing the front door of a building across the way. “They sh*t right against that house.”


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