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New York City Nightlife Advisory Board Suggests Legalized Drinking In Public Parks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Suggestions from New York City's Nightlife Advisory Board include legalized drinking in public parks and allowing bars to stay open until 4 a.m.

While the recommendations are creating a buzz, not everyone is ready to toast the proposals, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.

Public parks have been a refuge, especially during the pandemic. A recent proposal suggests they could be places for nightlife to extend beyond bars and clubs.

"Think of if you're in Central Park or another area and you open up a bottle of wine. Technically, you're not allowed to do that," said Andrew Rigie, chair of the Nightlife Advisory Council that came up with the ideas.

Rigie said the city should allow drinking and impromptu dance parties at certain locations, with regulations.

"We're not just talking about taking every single public space and turning it into an outdoor party, of course not. It's a little bit more refined than that," Rigie said.

The goal is to give public spaces, including buildings, a purpose well into the evening.

"I love the idea of finding a way to make public parks work for everybody," one person said.

"The intentions are good," said Councilman Peter Koo, who chairs the committee of parks and recreations.

But Koo said the proposal will be a hard sell for many residents.

"Doing dancing and drinking in the public, without strong regulation, I don't think it's a good idea," Koo said.

Noise is already a chief complaint. The pandemic forced celebrations (from dining to unsanctioned parties) outdoors, including those in Washington Square Park.

"If they want to turn it into a disco, you've got a lot of people who live around here, including me, who really don't need to hear that at night," said Jay Reisberg.

The advisory board noted the proposal will not work in every community. But after more than a year of social distancing, the board wants the city to consider new ways to come together.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's all for dancing, but believes the current laws are sufficient and don't need to change when it comes to drinking in public.

In all, there were 15 suggestions ranging from improving training for security guards to the treatment of nightlife performers.

Click here to read the Nightlife Advisory Board's Summer 2021 Report.


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