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Black and Latinx New Yorkers Are Disproportionately Ticketed for Outdoor Drinking, New Data Shows

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Plus, the mass cancellation of festivals and other events in Brooklyn has taken a toll on some Caribbean restaurateurs — and more intel

Outdoor diners eat and drink at tables in a park. In the background, trees and skyscrapers are visible.
Outdoor diners at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
Gary He/Eater

91 percent of public drinking tickets in the last six months went to Black and Latinx New Yorkers

Despite New York City’s outdoor dining and takeout cocktail programs, public drinking isn’t legal — but enforcement of that policy has disproportionately impacted Black and Latinx residents of New York City, according to new city data analyzed by Gothamist. Since January, the NYPD has handed out roughly 1,250 criminal summonses for drinking in public. Of those summonses, roughly 48 percent were issued to Black individuals, while close to 43 percent went to those who are Latinx. The NYPD issued half as many summonses for public drinking over the same period in 2019, though Black and Latinx New Yorkers were similarly affected then too.

For many New Yorkers, these numbers aren’t news. Earlier this month, Grub Street reported on the disparity between levels of public drinking in the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park — which photographer Christian Rodriguez referred to as “Coachella in the city” — and the Public Housing projects on nearby Avenue D, where he grew up. “There are no alfresco dinner parties in the projects,” Rodriguez writes. “As a kid from the hood, you learn at a young age that... It’s okay for some people to play outside — and it’s not okay for others.” Meanwhile, others like Brooklyn resident Shabazz Stuart have called for the legalization of outdoor drinking because the current policy has created a “legal grey area” for many New Yorkers of color. “I dread having to explain to an officer why it’s OK to break a law that everyone else is flagrantly breaking,” Stuart wrote in a June 28 op-ed.

In all, only seven percent of public drinking summonses were issued to white people. In a statement to Gothamist, NYPD spokesperson Al Baker shared that “the NYPD enforces the law fairly and equally, and works tirelessly every day to keep every resident and every neighborhood safe.”

In other news

— Upper East Side piano bar Brandy’s is at risk of closing, a spokesperson for the restaurant has shared. The neighborhood bar, which has not reopened since March, will be hosting a series of weekly online piano performances to raise funds, beginning on August 6 on Brandy’s Facebook Live feed. All proceeds from the events will be donated to Brandy’s GoFundMe campaign.

— The NYC Hospitality Alliance and local architecture firm Rockwell Group will debut plans for a new outdoor dining program on Mott Street in Chinatown tomorrow, according to a spokesperson for the organizations. Restaurants who participate in the program will receive tables and dividers designed for socially distant dining.

— Marcus Samuelsson, the acclaimed chef and co-owner of Red Rooster Harlem, will lead cocktail and cooking classes at this year’s WCNY Taste of Fame fundraiser, according to a spokesperson for the event. Tickets for the October 16 event are available online.

— Chef Kyo Pang of popular Malaysian cafe Kopitiam will lead an online cooking course through Chefstreams this Sunday at 7 p.m., according to a spokesperson for the company. In the class, Pang will teach viewers how to make her popular smashed cucumber salad and Hainanese chicken with rice balls.

— The mass cancellation of festivals and other summer events in Brooklyn has taken a toll on Caribbean restaurateurs, some of which have drastically reduced their hours to stay afloat.

— Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria has become the “it” spot for outdoor dining in Queens, local publication QNS reports.

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