Attention all New Yorkers, one giant leap for mankind happened on Tuesday when it was announced that you won’t get arrested anymore for drinking and urinating in public, the New York Observer reported.
There are a couple of caveats though. (When aren’t there any?)
First of all, the new rule only applies to one New York City borough: Manhattan. Second of all, you can still get a summons for both offenses. Third and finally, you can still get arrested if it’s necessary for public safety reasons.
“Using summonses instead of arrests for low-level offenses is an intuitive and modern solution that will help make sure resources are focused on our main priority: addressing threats to public safety,” Mayor Bill de Blasio explained in a statement. “Today’s reforms allow our hardworking police officers to concentrate their efforts on the narrow group of individuals driving violent crime in New York City. This plan will also help safely prevent unnecessary jail time for low-level offenses.”
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What are some other things you won’t get arrested for anymore? Littering, riding or passing between subway cars and taking up more than one subway seat. Rejoice! Could NYC be returning to its grungy pre-Bloomberg days of yore?
The city’s attitude toward public drinking is one long in the making. Just as recently as 2012, the New York Times reported that the city wrote 124,498 summonses for public drinking, “far more than for any other violation.”
One judge in Brooklyn was reportedly so sick of presiding over the deluge of public drinking cases that he ordered officers to prove that the beverage someone was drinking was alcoholic — and sniffing it was not enough.
So rejoice, Manhattan, and drink and pee all over the place.
Matt Lee is a web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely: @off_Yellow.