David Teather beschrijft in de Engelse krant The Guardian hoe gefrustreerde New Yorkers omgaan met de recente rookverboden in de horeca.
Sommige bars laten gasten roken, op het gevaar af een flinke boete op te lopen. Anderen handhaven het rookverbod netjes, maar veroorzaken daardoor grote overlast op de straat waar voetgangers en buren tot laat in de nacht overlast ondervinden van voor de deur van de bar samengroepende rokers.
Bars and restaurants have complained of dwindling business. Many ardent smokers now prefer to invite people to their homes, where they can puff away with impunity.
But the bar owners are in a bind. If a person is caught smoking it, is the bar that is fined, not the individual. Repeat offenders risk losing their licence. There are some small loopholes, but few that many bars can really exploit.
Another problem thrown up by the ban has been the arrival of clusters of people standing outside the many bars in New York and smoking, in much the same way that, during the day, workers can be seen taking a drag on the sidewalk in front of their offices.
This has led to complaints about air pollution from pedestrians wading their way through the smokers: an odd one, you might think, given that they are also breathing in the fumes of Manhattan’s traffic.
Perhaps more reasonably, residents who live around bars and restaurants are finding it difficult to sleep. New York bars don’t close until 4am, and noise complaints have risen by 160%. The streets are also littered with cigarette butts.
But most of all, the ban means that New York just isn’t as cool as it was. New York is no longer the edgiest place in America. In fact it’s one of the safest cities.