City Council Ponders Legalized Pissing

If you liked Taxi Driver, you’ll love NYC in a few years.

By Jim Knipfel

For the last several years, the NYPD has been working with what has been termed the Broken Windows approach to law enforcement. The thinking is, if you come down hard on low level offenses like littering and public drinking, you’ll nip uglier crimes in the bud. Littering, see, inevitably leads to armed robbery and rape the same way marijuana leads to heroin. As things have stood, you get busted for pissing against the wall of a post office, say, you were not only looking at a stretch in stir, you’d end up with a permanent criminal record to boot. But now there’s a move in the city council to change all that.

Arguing those rinky-dink offenses not only pointlessly clog up the city’s courts with nonsense, but also overwhelmingly target poor minorities. The Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016, which comes up for a vote shortly, would mean offenders charged with littering, disturbing the peace, misbehaving in a park, drinking in public or pissing on the sidewalk would receive a summons at best, and the charge would not go down on your  permanent criminal record.

The act, which is being pushed by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is meeting with some resistance from the Mayor and Commissioner Bratton, both of whom are obligated, in public anyway, to stand beside the Broken Windoes policy. There’s something kind of tepid about their opposition, though — remember both De Blasio and Bratton, just last year, supported the decriminalization of possessing small amounts of pot.

See? I’ve always said you put a Democrat in the NYC Mayor’s office things’ll get interesting again. Minutes after De Blasio took the oath, not only were the homeless allowed to re-emerge by the millions from wherever Giuliani and Bloomberg had them locked away all those years, but the violent crime rate began to soar to mid-’70s levels, Cetral Park became the city’s top spot to avoid at any time of the day or night, and now  the council’s about to give the all-clear to start pissing on the sidewalk, throwing your trash wherever you darn well please, dropping your pants in Washington Square Park and getting blotto outside the bodega again! Before you know it, unfettered car alarms will be back in vogue, dealers will be making the rounds of the sidewalks in the Village chanting “smoke, smoke, smoke,” and we can look forward to the grand re-opening of Show World at it’s old 8th Avenue location.

No, you may not notice the change immediately, what with all the snow on the ground and temperatures hovering in the 30s, but come this August? I mean one of those really brutal humid days? Hooboy, New York is gonna start smelling like New York again, that unmistakable bouquet of urine, shit, rotting fish, sour milk, bus fumes and anger. And I, for one, will finally be able to relax again, knowing I’m home at last.  

Published January 28th, 2016


Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.