If Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, getting a drink in New York City is going to get a little bit harder.
The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the city Health Department wants to cut the number of establishments that sell alcohol as a part of their Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiative.
A "request for proposal" document sent to community groups lists one goal as "reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol," according to the Post.
"Reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion in retail and general (trains, buses, etc.) settings (stores, restaurants, etc”, the document reportedly says.
"Talk about a nanny state," Conservative Party head Mike Long complained to the paper. "Why don’t they just close all the liquor establishments?"
"This is absolutely insane," Long, who is a former liquor store owner, added. "They want to run the retail establishments in New York."
Reached for comment, a Health Department spokeswoman did not deny that curbing alcohol sales was a goal of the program.
"The city’s goals for the Partnership for a Healthier New York are in line with our ongoing strategies of promoting healthy eating and physical activity and discouraging tobacco, excessive alcohol use and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages," the spokeswoman remarked. "Specific proposals, however, are still in the planning phase."
In the past few years, there have been a resurgence of illegal alcohol sales in the city. A drink known as "nutcrackers," consisting of various high-level alcohols and fruit juices, is often sold for $5 per serving in Harlem.
"It’s definitely a summer drink, and I try to serve them as cold as possible," a man going by the name of Kool-Aid told The New York Times in 2010.
Kool-Aid explained that he made about $700 on each batch of nutcrackers after spending $300 on ingredients, including 160-proof Devil’s Springs vodka, 151-proof Bacardi 151 rum, Amaretto, other sweet liquors and fruit juices.
During his time as mayor of New York City, Bloomberg's administration has raised the ire of conservatives by trying to curb the consumption of trans-fats, sugary drinks and tobacco.
Each time, New Yorkers have grumbled about the restrictions with little fallout. Only time will tell if the public backlash over alcohol limits will finally force the mayor's office to back down.
Photo: Flickr/Asterio Tecson