Now that the NYPD has turned New York City into a crime-free oasis where nobody locks their doors at night or jacks up the bass on their Hyundais above a whisper, it makes sense that focus would turn to more minor violations that mar our urban utopia. Take Brooklyn law student Andrew Rausa, who was imbibing alcohol in public view on the stoop of his Boerum Hill building on the Fourth of July. Harmless celebration of America's freedom, or a broken bottle tearing at the very fabric of civilized society? Guess which one the NYPD chose!
“You’re all getting summonses for drinking in public,” Mr. Rausa recalls one of the officers announcing from the other side of the wrought-iron gate in front of the brownstone on Douglass Street in Boerum Hill. “We were all kind of stunned for a second,” Mr. Rausa said in an interview on Tuesday. “It happened over the gate. It was a very tangible physical divide — when they said the words ‘public property,’ it just didn’t make any sense.”
Aw, "sense." In an attempt to make it, Rausa looked up the actual statute on his cell phone and showed one of the officers that the law applies to areas "to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access," not a private stoop behind a gate. But the constable was not particularly interested in being educated on the law, surprising no one. "My issue is not some yuppie, I-think-I’m-above-the-law-issue, it’s the fact that I brought to the attention of the police officer that he was not in the right and he was not receptive at all," Rausa tells the Times, adorably.
He plans to fight the $25 summons in court, following in the well-lubricated footsteps of Kimber VanRy, who was busted for drinking a Sierra Nevada on his own Sterling Place stoop in the summer of 2008. The case was dismissed on a technicality, leaving the enforcement of stoop drinking to remain a legal grey area in NYC. Your best bet if you want to safely enjoy a beer outside the apartment you pay obscene sums of money for is to run for Borough President.