The CDC says New York is a city full of irreparable booze hounds, and our mayor knows it. Due, perhaps, to New Yorkers' propensity for alcohol-fueled calamities—see: drunk drivers who rip off their shirts to greet the cops; inebriated youths who dangerously decide to pee off the top of buildings; all of SantaCon—Mayor Bill de Blasio has banned advertisers from promoting alcohol on city property.
Starting now, boozy ads will be barred from bus shelters, newsstands, the final handful of holdout phone booths, Wi-Fi LinkNYC kiosks, and recycling kiosks. Ads that are already up in these public places will be allowed to remain until their contracts dry up, after which point, no new alcohol promos may replace them.
"There's no doubt that far too many New Yorkers struggle with serious substance misuse issues, among them excessive drinking," de Blasio said in a statement. The ban, he added, "reaffirms our commitment to health equity and our stand to protect the well-being of all New Yorkers."
Businesses that actually sell alcohol may still display ads for the product, meaning the Spuds MacKenzie paraphernalia in your corner bar is safe. But the de Blasio administration argues that exposing the youth—who may be especially susceptible to advertising, particularly the appeal of a chill party animal—to booze-glorifying campaigns may predispose them to drink more, and to develop consumption-related disorders later on in life.
According to the mayor's office, emergency departments across the five boroughs fielded more than 110,000 alcohol-related emergency room visits in 2016. That same year, almost 2,000 residents died from "alcohol-attributable causes," such as liver disease, car accidents, and cancers. And while New York doesn't necessarily rank as one of America's drunkest cities (those mostly reside in Wisconsin, per one recent report), the mayor's office considers our binge drinking habits excessive, and has launched a responsible drinking awareness campaign to help us cut back.
In January 2018, the MTA officially stopped letting alcohol companies advertise on buses, in train cars, and in stations. Has that stopped straphangers from cracking open a bottle of subway wine and sharing it with their neighbors? Difficult to say, but considering the depressing downward spiral that is our public transit system, I sort of doubt it.