Last month, we were disappointingly reminded that police officers don't have anything better to do than hound people who they catch enjoying a drink of alcohol on their stoops. The NY Times dove back into the stoop drinking phenomenon this weekend, hitting all the familiar notes: Marty Markowitz's infamous "Stoop Talk" appearance, the saga of inadvertent stoop drinking advocate Kimber VanRy, and the illicit pleasure of using a Paula Deen “S.L.U.T.S.” cup. But the best part of the piece might be a multi-graf reverie that describes the stoop drinking habits of people all around the city.
On the corner of Cumberland Street and DeKalb Avenue in Fort Greene, a couple newly relocated from Montreal prepared an elaborate spread of mozzarella salad, a cutting board filled with pata negra and other cured meats, accompanied by a Spanish red wine. On 105th Street and Riverside Drive in Manhattan, a 20-something couple sipped Bacardi Coconut on the rocks through straws from tall white foam cups. At the corner of West Fourth and West 12th Streets in Manhattan, a woman whose mother had been in intensive care for two days smoked American Spirits while sitting with her two Chihuahuas on the steps leading up to a red-brick building, an orange cup of Red Stripe at her feet.
At about 9:30 p.m. on a Sunday in south Park Slope, Brooklyn, three couples sat on low-slung beach chairs and on the stairs of a brownstone with small glasses of Writers Tears whiskey or cans of Coors Light. One woman ducked inside briefly to make sure her child was still asleep.
VanRy told them he believed the public drinking laws are unevenly enforced along racial lines: “I see this very much like stop and frisk,” he said. Gibran K. Brown and Jaie Jordan, who the Times found drinking in Fort Greene Park, argued: “Why spend $20 or $30 in a local pub to be in a stuffy place? We’ve got the air and the trees.” One Park Slope couple, Matt Rohrer and wife Susan McCullough, complained, “New York City’s not supposed to be so Puritan.”
It turns out the NYPD issued 124,498 tickets for public drinking in 2011, which isn't a crime, but rather a "quality of life" violation. It's not clear how many of those were for stoop drinkers in particular, but they do note that it's at the "discretion of the patrolling officer whether or not to write up the pink slip." So basically, you're most likely screwed whether you do or don't argue with an officer if they spot you sipping .
But never forget "The Brand Loophole:" as Sue Funke recently discovered, tickets are considered "defective" if they are missing pertinent details, such as the brand of alcohol. "Did they write the brand down of the wine?" she told us. "If they don't write the brand it doesn't count. Like, ya can't just write beer it's gotta be Budweiser Beer. This law is ridiculous." We've still got our fingers crossed for designated booze zones one day.