Monday, March 30, 2009

On this date in NYC history: The smoking ban goes into effect

Can't believe that it has been six years already...

From the AP, March 30, 2003:

In a smoke-choked Manhattan tavern, Cynthia Candiotti asked a neighbor for a light and took a deep drag on her cigarette, savoring a last barstool puff before the city outlawed smoking in bars and nightclubs.

For Candiotti, 26, the ban is a double whammy: "I can't tell you how many dates with cute guys I've gotten by looking into his eyes while he lights me up. That's as good as smoking."

With fear, loathing and lament, the city of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Philip Morris USA was ushering in the smoke-free age Sunday, one tick after midnight.

Goodbye to the cloying smell of cloves. The wispy white rings that settle into a layer of haze at bars, pubs and nightclubs. The smoker's hack and smelly clothes after a night out, whether you smoked or not. The phone number written on a matchbook cover.

"First they cleaned up Times Square, then they said you couldn't dance in bars or drink a beer in the park. Now you can't even smoke when you go out on the town," said Willie Martinez, 37, who sat, chain-smoking, in an East Village bar. "This is like no-fun city."


Anonymous said...

Wow. EV Grieve that's incredible. Six years. I don't miss having clothes that smell like smoke and I know all the health problems with smoking (I don't smoke, btw) but I do think getting rid of smoking in bars changed the vibe of our city. Made it sanitized and less interesting. Along with many of Bloomberg's other "policies."

I'm wondering when the rule about no drinking in parks went into effect?



p.s. Thanks for linking to my Vanishing City update!

EV Grieve said...

Thanks for the comment, Cathryn... I'm with you on the changes that the ban brought to the city. I still see a few tourists from overseas who seem bewildered that they have to go outside to smoke.

BTW, I don't smoke, either. And I've had a few relatives who died from lung cancer.

Ed said...

The ban changed the vibe of the city in a bad way, on the other hand I've saved a fortune on laundry bills. Its a tough call.