January 12, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Bloomberg’s List – a Reminder of Prohibition

And in this the January of 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Duke of New York City, The Earl of West and East Sides, set out to on a crusade:

Limit the sale of alcohol in New York City! Pardon?

According to yesterday’s New York Post exclusive, the Mayor’s office and the city Health Department’s Partnership for a Healthier New York City have set out to, “Reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion in retail and general (trains, buses, etc.) settings (stores, restaurants, etc” in New York City.”

For the time being, one of the goals of this initiative is most alarming to the libation community: “…reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density…”

Let’s discuss: Firstly, this statement needs a bit of clarification and for good reason. Bars, corner stores and retail shops in New York, are for the most part are privately owned small businesses, family-run, dedicated to serving a desirable product to their community.

If the Mayor wants to talk about outlets that perpetuate alcohol abuse, maybe he should first talk to the idiots responsible for Prohibition. Of course that movement had it’s merits, which I don’t need to discuss. Go read “From Demon to Darling” by Richard Mendelson if you want to debate the good and bad of Prohibition, but the fact remains and is the oldest vicious cycle on the books: take it away, hide it, force it elsewhere and you create more of a problem (booze, drugs, sex, M&Ms). To this day, I will devour an entire accessible over-sized bag of M&Ms because my mother used to hide them.

The solution to alcohol abuse is not to close down small businesses (bars and retail outlets) in New York or to limit the sale in restaurants and corner stores. Now wait! Could we use a bit of vetting? Maybe. But let’s define what kind of libation-based establishments provide a good presence and which are in existence for the mere sale and distribution of swill to abusers! And not every liquor outlet situated behind inches-thick bullet-proof glass need be shut down. Some of those outlets are run be devoted folk who are trying to present alcohol as a treat to enjoy over a meal, or with friends and doing so in areas where people regularly demand they hand over their enjoyable products under threat of frightening devices (guns, knives and amateur hip-hop dancing).

We’ll also have to define abusers. Who is abusing alcohol, Mr. Mayor? And why? Again, I direct you to History. And I ask you to consider the American adolescent vs the European adolescent and I blame your father, grand-father and great-grand father for not adopting a more European-centric mentality toward alcohol. For Christ’s sake! There was a religious group posting billboards in Upstate New York a few years back demanding the drinking age be raised to 25! What kind of a world have your fore-father’s created?!?! Agh!

To be clear: I’m not poking fun at underage drinking, which of course is never a good thing if it is for abusive reasons (and drinking Yellow Tail is abusive to your system, believe me). But is the solution to close down and ban limit establishments that sell alcohol? To offer “$$$” to advocacy groups who will do your dirty work of encouraging communities to close down every joint in these here square miles that houses vagabonds and devil-drinking mixologist-sommelier booze-hounds?!

Will you repeat History Mr. Mayor?! Or will you learn from Hamlet and Ophelia’s mistakes? Two young lovers, crossed with the curse of an elixir they knew not how to treat. Had that been a properly mixed cocktail, they might still be alive today.


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