Manhattan Just Decriminalized Public Drinking

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There’s just something special about enjoying a good drink outside. Rooftops and patios are great—and abound in New York City—but what about all the people who want to drink while on the move or in a public park? Good news for all the rule breakers who’ve already been sipping on the subway and side streets: Now, in Manhattan, the New York Police Department won’t arrest you for drinking up in public.

City officials announced that, starting March 7, “NYPD will no longer arrest individuals who commit these offenses … unless there is a demonstrated public safety reason to do so.”

This doesn’t mean that you can now freely walk down Fifth Avenue or sit in Central Park while chugging a beer. It’s still not entirely legal—just decriminalized. Police will still stop you, and you’ll receive a summons and a fine instead of being taken downtown.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says, “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.” He also adds that the policy change will “safely prevent jail time for low-level offenses.”

Only a few cities in the U.S. currently allow drinking on the streets, and New York is not joining their ranks—yet. But at least now you won’t risk being hauled off in handcuffs for sipping a cold beer with your Halal Guys takeaway.

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