According to the New York Times the city council is expected to pass legislation on Thursday to introduce fines to halt this activity due to concerns over energy efficiency.
The new law would affect any business with at least 4,000 square feet, or small stores that are part of a chain with five or more stores in the city.
Stores would receive a warning and then a $200 fine for a second offense and $400 for further offences within an 18-month period.
Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer said: “Hopefully, they will get the message to help save the planet. There’s no use cooling the sidewalk.”
The move comes just weeks after United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon announced air conditioning had to be cut back during the week and switched off at weekends at the organisation’s headquarters in New York. The move was part of a number of initiatives designed to lower energy use and cut carbon emissions.