With bars, restaurants, stores, offices, and life as we knew it coming to an abrupt halt, some of us have had a lot of newfound time to think. Beyond traipsing down memory lane and pondering if we’ll ever get to enjoy anything resembling our previous experiences, some clever individuals have used their time thinking up innovative ideas, making the most of a murky situation. Here are some cool concepts to emerge in New York out of COVID. Who knew the best accessory to pair with a mask is a thinking cap?

Etiquette Montauk

An advertisement for Etiquette Montauk with a picture of their outdoor dining
An advertisement for Etiquette Montauk with a picture of their outdoor dining

With outdoor dining gaining popularity, entrepreneur Richie Hosein of AM Southampton, along with Enzo Lentini of Ruschmeyer’s, has decided to seize the moment. Taking dining al fresco to the next level, the duo has launched Etiquette Montauk, an immersive dining experience complete with theatrics like storytelling and light shows paired with Mediterranean dishes at Ruschmeyer’s, a hotel, restaurant and bar in Long Island’s easternmost hamlet. For those who are more-than-ready to take in dinner and a show, Etiquette Montauk is open seven days a week for dinner with seatings at 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Re-Ply

Wooden seating repurposed from plywood
Wooden seating repurposed from plywood

One thing is certain if people are going to dine outside, they are going to want somewhere to sit. Enter BVN’s genius idea to up-cycle the plywood that many of NYC’s stores and restaurants installed to prevent looting by turning the boards into stools, tables, and planters restaurants can use for their newly expanded sidewalk and street seating. You can take a seat and help a cause; a portion of the proceeds from BVN’s repurposed creations support Children of Promise NYC, an organization that helps children whose parents are incarcerated.

Ampia Restaurant & Rooftop

Photo from a rooftop with a blurry background of the city
Photo from a rooftop with a blurry background of the city

NYC loves rooftops. When warm weather hits, New Yorkers flock to high perches for stiff drinks and envy-inducing views. Social distancing, of course, presents a unique challenge for these usually-crowded spaces. Enter problem-solvers Michele and Anisa Iuliano of the Financial District’s Ampia Restaurant & Rooftop, who have installed five plastic greenhouses, seven-feet-high each, on the third-floor outdoor space of their restaurant. Now diners can enjoy gnocchi and martinis from the comfort of their coolhouse.

What are some cool business ideas you’ve seen emerge from the pandemic? Let us know in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.