Sidework café in New York

Charts & Graphs


There are numerous sidewalk cafés around the New York City, the goal of this project is to visualize the density and the scale of sidewalk café by areas. The sidewalk café specifically indicates coffee shops which have outdoor seats on the sidewalk.


The dataset in this project is come from NYC Open Data and published by Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The dataset features detailed information about sidewalk café license applications and, if applicable, issued licenses. This dataset updates weekly, which means this project can only tell story of a short period. This visualization was worked with the version on October, 2nd, 2019.


I used Tableau Public to manage the data and create visualization. The numbers of chairs being transferred to the scale of the sidewalk café because in comparison to the area of square foot, I considered the scale of sidewalk café in measurement of the capacity.

I also cleaned the data with Tableau. After rearrange some rows by groups, I created 5 visualizations about scale, forms, trends, density, and timeline, then abandoned some of them because of the insignificance.


Here is a direct link of the interactive visualization.

In this visualization, the audience can read the pattern of sidewalk café distribution by maps at a glance. They can also use the filters on the map to view specific area or licence status.

Although the pie chart could be difficult to read precisely, the shape does tell differences between areas. The audiences can hook on the pie chart to avoid misunderstanding. The pie charts are more a supportive visualization of the bar chart than a individual visualization in this project.

The bar chart, on the other hand, shows the number of sidewalk café and the scale of sidewalk café clearly. New York swept the victory of this “sidewalk café amount” competition, which is not that surprising.

The whole visualization is based on coffee color, in purpose of emphasizing the theme of sidewalk café. I personally enjoy seeing the map being filled with coffee color by density of stores.


Working on Tableau Public is fun and handling. It’s a user-friendly software and an audience-friendly platform of information visualization.
The goal of visualize the distribution of sidewalk café was successfully completed by the visualization. There are a few things I would do differently if this were to be expanded:

First, I would like to include the data of coffee shops to create a broader understanding of coffee business in NYC. Second, I’d like to make a time-related visualization which can illustrate the amount of coffee shops and detail information of them. The audience might could see the trends of coffee fad in the city, and even read patterns in the visualization. Last but not least, I’d like to combine population and area data to create context for the data presented, which might could help the audiences make indications with the visualization.

The time-related data in this dataset is mainly focused on current status than historical information. Once there is a more extensive and more inclusive data I think there would be possibility to enrich the function of the project.


Sidewalk Café Licenses and Applications