It’s official. Manhattan’s Community Board 6 has passed the pub crawl ban, a proposal that has been in the works since a particularly rowdy St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl last year. The pub crawl is an annual tradition, but community residents expressed concern over what they felt was an increase in partying on normal days as well. CB6 covers a large portion of the east side, from 14th Street to 59th street.
After a long evening at last night’s Community Board 6 meeting, the pub crawl ban was introduced as the last item on the agenda. Sponsors of the resolution insisted that it was long overdue, and the product of many months of work. Several board members pointed out, however, that the sponsors had not even defined “pub crawl,” and the resolution was quickly amended to apply only to “commercial pub crawls.” Debate was then cut off. The final vote went about 2-1 in favor of the ban. Although the official count will be announced later today, people in attendance estimated that 10-12 board members voted against the proposal. One board member, Janos Marton, later expressed concerns. “In addition to the obvious freedom of assembly implications, any time you pass a law that you know cannot be properly enforced, you are opening the door for selective, discriminatory enforcement. Resolutions like this distract from real issues, like the recent report that drunk driving is up significantly in the neighborhood. That’s an issue we can actually do something about.” Though the Community Board lacks the authority to ban pub crawls outright, it has called on the City Council to pass such legislation, and hopes other Community Boards follow suit.
(Photograph from 2010 St. Partick’s Day, Manhattan East Side)