How To Break 10 NYC Laws In 1 Hour
Believe me, this was no easy feat—but ladies and gentlemen: we did it. With the help of our relentlessly cool (and suspiciously Internet-famous) social media editor, Molly McGlew, we managed to break 10 New York City laws within 60 minutes.
For this project, I did a deep dive into the NYC law books and found several outrageous laws—known as Blue Laws—and coupled them with some easy-to-execute petty infractions to pull off this spectacle. Most of these ridiculous Colonial regulations came into effect around 1617 and were either printed on blue paper, or bound in books with blue covers.
They were there, so we exploited them. That's America.
1. Public urination
There are two laws in NYC that specifically prohibit public urination: 153.09 is a Health Code violation and is treated as a misdemeanor. Penalties for a misdemeanor may include incarceration in county jail, payment of a fine, and community service. [Source]
2. Drinking in public
Drinking in public was first outlawed in 1979 by Ed Koch and it is still illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a public sidewalk, road, or park in New York State. [Source]
3. Spitting in public
From NYC's Article 181, Protection of Public Health: "No person shall spit upon a sidewalk of a street or place, or on a floor, wall or stairway of any public or private building or premises used in common by the public, or in or on any public transportation facility." [Source]
4. Public flirting
An old law dating back hundreds of years that specifically prohibits men from turning around on the street and "looking at a woman in a flirtatious way." Infracting this law technically calls for the violating male to wear a "pair of horse-blinders." [Source]
5. Carrying an ice cream cone in your back pocket
Unlike the ridiculous flirting infraction, this one actually makes a tad more sense. Back in the pre-automative days, thieves would carry around ice cream cones in their back pockets to lure horses away from their owners. These cunning d*cks would then tell police officers that they, in fact, did not steal the horse—it just simply followed the ice cream cone. Clever. [Source]
6. Smoking within 100 feet of a non-residential entrance
Bonus, because there was a "No Smoking" sign nearby. You always can't smoke in places of employment, bars, food service establishments, ticketing, boarding and waiting areas in public transportation terminals, and just about everywhere else in NYC. [Source]
Title 34, Section 4-04, Subsection (b) of the New York City Administrative Code: "No pedestrian shall cross any roadway at an intersection except within a cross- walk." [Source]
8. Putting one's thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers
This is not even a joke and it's considered a lewd gesture in the entire state of New York. Keep in mind, it is perfectly legal for women to go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business. We couldn't convince Molly to do that one. Pansy. [Source]
9. Causing a ruckus in an elevator
When riding an elevator in New York City, it is required to "talk to no one, and fold [your] hands while looking toward the door." This was the most fun law to break, because we literally had the song "Breaking The Law" playing the entire time. [Source]
10. Women cannot wear body-hugging clothing
Yes, believe it or not, it's still technically illegal for women to wear body-hugging clothing in public. How often is this law broken in the city? We'd like to think it's around 1,000,000 times a day—especially in Brooklyn. Funny, because that directly conflicts with that whole "topless is okay" law. Props to Molly for fitting an ice cream cone into her tight jeans. Two in one! [Source]
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