The NY Post lit the fires of revolution today with a story about how the Department of Health (DOH) has been secretly mulling a proposal to ban happy hours across the city. Sources tell them the proposal is being advocated by Commissioner Thomas Farley: “It’s absolutely been discussed,” one department source told them. “It goes to show you the spirit with which they operate. Everyone is a child.” What is this, Utah? But the DOH told us that story is utter bupkis: "The story is untrue. The health department has not discussed limiting happy hour and will not be doing so."
Another source told the Post that high-level conversations have gone beyond merely “throwing pencils on the ceiling and seeing what sticks.” Currently, 19 states have laws that essentially ban happy hours. In arguing the realness of a possible happy hour ban, the Post brings up Farley's “Take Care New York 2012” report, in which he said he aimed to “reduce risky alcohol use:” “DOH will advocate for policies that reduce access to alcohol by adolescents and for limits on sales practices in communities and campuses that promote drinking among adolescents and heavy drinking among adults,” the document reads.
One person who probably won't be too happy about the Post's article: Mayor Bloomberg, who was incensed after a report leaked that the city was considering a proposal to limit access to booze. At the time, spokesman Stu Loeser said the idea was just a byproduct of Bloomberg's mayoral style: “One reason the mayor has been successful in office is because we think there are no bad ideas in brainstorming—and then we weigh them against other concerns. We’re deeply committed to encouraging entrepreneurs to start and expand small businesses in the city,” he said. It sounds like the Post may have jumped the gun once again.
[Update]: Mayor Bloomberg made this comment on the Post story:
You know, it’s good that- what one paper’s done because, as you remember, this year the committee did not award a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now we have one - with irresponsible journalism - for next year. The Health Department has no plans. We told them we have no plans. It is a totally fictitious, made-up story, and it’s just not what I would call responsible journalism.