Smokers, the respite of nipping out for a sneaky fag may be about to vanish like the proverbial puff of smoke.
Nanny state city officials are considering banning smoking in parks and on city beaches, assessing a fine for smoky outlaws who might defy the bans. Smokers are used to being pushed further and further from doorways, incurring dirty looks and being asked to hide their filthy habit, but Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has taken reasoning behind the ban to new levels of whargarbl. He starts off okay:
“We don’t think children, parents, when they’re standing at soccer games, should have to be breathing in smoke from the person next to them,” Farley said after unveiling the city’s 10-point plan alongside Mayor Bloomberg.
Okay, right, people shouldn’t smoke at kids at soccer games, no matter how annoying the little brats are. But then, and I say this as a parent to two kids who spend a lot of time in the city, he crosses a frightening line, saying:
“We don’t think our children should have to be watching someone smoke.”
Farley, you do realize this is New York City, don’t you? New York subways-smell-like-pee City? New York assless-chaps-on-Christopher-Street City? New York puking-drunk-people-at-3pm-in-Midtown City? And if jerks like this get their way in infantilizing the city and outlawing grown-up vices or restricting them even more than they are restricted now (Giuliani’s dancing ban, anyone?), what’s next? The remaining peep shows? Public lotto playing? Screaming a string of filthy words at the C train when the doors close in front of your face and that jerk-off conductor saw you running down the stairs in 3.5″ heels? And laughed?
This whole outdoor smoking ban business is, in my opinion, way out of control as it is. Last Sunday, I attempted to light up at a W 12th street restaurant, outside, between courses. No one was nearby, the only other people at the table were smokers, too. A waiter quickly approached and moved me 18 inches to the left, so I was comfortably sitting in a tomato plant. I didn’t protest, but the waiter sadly informed me the restaurant had already been fined for not observing the 18-inches rule in the past. This is another way to drum up revenue, and at the expense of already cash-strapped people. Don’t do it, city. You can deny people a much needed smoke after they fight their way up from the underground labyrinth that is Union Square’s subway station.