Not My New York
Posted: Oct 15, 2009 10:17am ET
What happened to New York? When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, New York City was always the big, mysterious place with a little Wild West thrown in. It had a reckless side, a rebellious side and a seedy side. Cabbies drove like crazy, you could find things here that were available nowhere else, and it was very common to see people wearing all kinds of crazy outfits. On an early visit, I turned a corner and almost walked into a man stripped to the waist with boxing gloves on each hand. (I crossed the street.) People were different in New York and they did what they wanted, and God help those who tried to tell them no.
That’s just not the same anymore. Today, the “N” in New York could stand for nanny, as in Nanny State. The city that once never slept is now more like the city that says No. The people in charge of this once rebellious city are now mimicking such anti Sin City municipalities as Canada and California.
What set me off this morning is yesterday’s City Council vote to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in the city. Flavored cigarettes (except for menthol) are already illegal in the United States, thanks to a September ban by the Food and Drug Administration, the new boss of the U.S. tobacco industry. The New York City ban is tougher, and would make the city the only one in the union (save for the state of Maine) banning all flavored tobacco, except for pipe and hookah tobacco. The legislation needs to be signed by Mayor Bloomberg, and it’s hard to imagine that someone who is as anti-tobacco as the Mayor would vote such legislation down. Unless challenged in court, in about 120 days the sale of flavored cigars will become illegal in New York City.
(Irony of ironies, aficionados who enjoy flavored cigars might soon have to reverse generations of behavior and leave a city that long had a reputation of being the place to find whatever you want and go to a place like Connecticut to find it!)
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