Drinks

Farewell, Brown Bag

As of next week, public drinking will be decriminalized in Manhattan
Public Drinking in NYC
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

Hold on to your beer koozies: Public drinking will soon be decriminalized in Manhattan. The law goes into effect on March 7, just in time for spring picnics and summer block parties.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. released a statement yesterday outlining "structural changes to criminal summons issued in Manhattan," with the intention of giving law enforcement more time to focus on "those who commit serious crimes." Police will decide whether or not someone is a risk to public safety and will issue summons based on their discretion.

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As DNA Info points out, the relaxed enforcement is part of a larger move away from New York's "broken windows" policing, a strategy based on the idea that low-level offenses could indicate higher-level crimes. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has been pushing for an end to arrests for low-level crimes, because they "clog the courts and have been disproportionately enforced against minorities." A representative for the speaker tells DNA Info that although "there is more work to be done," the new initiative will help put an end to "cumbersome and inefficient" law enforcement.

Other minor offenses that will be decriminalized along with responsible drinking in public include littering and public urination. Yep. That's right. Though the idea of more people peeing freely in the streets of Manhattan is super gross, it does seem like a logical extension of the drinking law.

For now, decriminalized public drinking doesn't apply to other boroughs, so you'll have to stick to Manhattan if you're looking to pop bottles in the park. Chill the rosé, get your coolers ready and grab a 40 for the road.

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