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At York Street, you might notice this porcelain on steel sign along the walls of the subway tube. NO SMOKING, NO SPITTING it warns straphangers under Sanitary Code Sect. 216. These signs date from before the consolidation of the subway, and the individual companies would put up messages to discourage bad behavior.

For the full text: “Smoking in subway is prohibited. Smoking or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette or pipe in or on any stairway, platform, station or car of any railway running underneath the ground surface is herby prohibited.”

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The sign came courtesy of the Board of Transportation, the Board of Health and the City of New York. We haven’t found evidence that the sanitary code exists anymore, and given the urgency about cigars we’re assuming it’s been replaced by another regulation.

For more fun signs, Forgotten NY has put together some of the vintage cartoons about subway etiquette published under the fake newspaper, “The Subway Sun.”

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. See more quirky NYC facts and discoveries in our “Daily What?!” series. Submit your own via Twitter with the hashtag #DailyWhat.

 Brooklyn, Daily What?!, DUMBO, MTA, subway, York Street

4 Responses
  1. John davidson Reply

    Obama healthcare: Government, heal thyself
    Op-Ed The $100 million for ‘community transformation grants’ allocated under President Obama’s healthcare plan will fund projects that have little evidence behind them.

    June 03, 2011|By Jeff Stier and Henry I. MillerEven at a time of high-profile budget cutting, the Obama administration is spending not just on the essentials of governance but also on social engineering to promote its liberal inclinations.

    One example is the Department of Health and Human Services announcement in May of the availability of $100 million for “community transformation grants,” a program created by “Obamacare.”

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will administer the program, and grants will be funneled to local government agencies and nonprofit organizations, which are required to use evidence-based strategies and ensure that their activities have broad population impact and help address health disparities. Projects that could qualify include the promotion of blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, increased access to healthful food options, including the elimination of food deserts (areas where it is supposedly difficult to buy healthful foods), and efforts to improve school nutrition and bring more healthful foods to corner markets in urban areas.

    The new grants “will empower communities with resources, information and flexibility to help make their residents healthier,” according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. And this presumptive improved health will result in — wait for it — savings in federal healthcare expenditures because of less chronic disease caused by tobacco use, obesity, poor diet and lack of physical activity.

    These are worthy goals, but we would argue that this wishful-thinking, ideological approach to achieving them is especially dubious at a time of budgetary belt-tightening.

  2. John Davidson Reply

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

    • John davidson Reply

      This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

      Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

      By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

      Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

      What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

  3. John Davidson Reply

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

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