This morning, New York City was blanketed in a shiny coat of slippery ice. Late this afternoon, on a day when puffing in a green park or on a sunny beach seemed worlds away, the City Council of New York voted to ban smoking in outdoor public places.
The move, which passed in a vote of 36 to 12, makes New York City one of the least smoker friendly areas in the United States. The place once deemed "The City That Never Sleeps" is becoming, more and more, The City That Never Smokes.
The ban is the latest move by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to remove possible places to smoke in New York City. In his three terms of office he has championed smoking bans that have removed cigars and cigarettes from bars and restaurants. This newest prohibition will make it illegal to smoke in a 1700 city parks, including the 843 acre Central Park, on 14 miles of city beaches, on boardwalks and marinas, even in the popular pedestrian hangout in the newly designed Times Square. Fines will be $50. The law will not affect city sidewalks or private businesses where smoking is presently allowed, such as rooftop bars.
The move is expected to become law in 90 days--right about the time when the weather in New York will become conducive to spending time outdoors.
Note: The original version of this story had an error in the number of votes cast against the ban.