NYPD officers and conductor with commuters on City Hall platformTurn of the century New York police officers in the old City Hall Subway Station

It’s getting nicer out, so the thought might cross your mind to grab an ice cream cone on a lazy Sunday. If your hands are full, don’t even think about putting that cone in your pocket, or you may be committing a crime. In NYC, it is illegal to transport an ice cream cone in a pocket, specifically on Sunday.

Today we’re looking at strange and crazy laws such as this one. Find out what other laws you may be breaking with this list of 10 of the strangest New York state laws.

Many of these laws are referred to as “blue laws,” as described in this TIME article, meaning they are laws remaining in effect from a time when church and state were intertwined. Specifically the “Never On Sunday” laws are prime examples of blue laws.

  1. It is illegal in New York City to transport an ice cream cone in one’s pocket, on a Sunday.
  2. It is illegal to congregate in a group of two or more in any public place while each wearing a mask or any face covering that disguises identity.
  3. In Sag Harbor, NY it is illegal not only to disrobe in the street but also in any automobile or wagon.
  4. In Beacon, NY it is illegal to own or operate a pinball machine or video arcade, with a fine of up to $1000 a day.
  5. Though it is legal for a woman to go topless in NYC, it is illegal if used for business purposes.
  6. It is illegal in New York City to use a cellular phone in “any indoor theater, library, museum, gallery, motion picture theater, concert hall or building in which theatrical, musical, dance, motion picture, lecture or other similar performances are exhibited.”
  7. It is illegal in NY to keep more than $10 you find in the street, and you have 10 days to turn it in to the police or you can get a year in prison.
  8. It is illegal in NYC to have a puppet show, ballet, or any other performance in your window.
  9. It is illegal to fly a parachute over New York City “except in the event of imminent danger or while under official orders of any branch of the military service.”
  10. A barber in NYC can earn a $5 fine and a misdemeanor charge for giving haircuts on Sunday.

Another one of our favorites is the ban on buying electronics on Sunday, which is still enforced in parts of New Jersey.

These sources are varied, ranging from legal documents to esteemed publications. However, one must keep in mind that often state governments are updating some of the oldest laws to remove wacky and antiquated ones.

See more from our Cities 101 column, including Which Pets are Illegal in NYC.

Get in touch with the author @uptownvoice.

 Cities 101, laws

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