A horrifying weekend article in The New York Post involves the death of everything good and holy. By that we mean Happy Hour. Gird your koozies; it is under siege. Maybe.
A bit of backstory, first. If you've lived in New York City for a few years, 10 or more, maybe a few less, you remember a time in which you would return home from a bar, your hair and clothing permeated by smoke. You'd take a shower, and that solved that, but still, it was yucky, at least to those who don't smoke in bars, and maybe even to some who do. Slowly, methodically, the smoking bans began; people protested loudly, and then less and less. And now, you can't even smoke outside in some locations.
Of course, we barely remember what that smokey hair smelled like back then, so numb and adjusted to it all we have become, so full of ourselves and our health and the scent of clean. If you've lived in New York City even longer, you might remember when Times Square was full of peep shows and when everything was a lot less Disney and a lot more gritty, and you may bemoan those days while also being privately a wee bit glad that your chance of getting mugged has decreased and that you can take your aunt and uncle to The Red Lobster (where they insist on going after Mamma Mia!) without fear of getting propositioned by a prostitute. You may remember, even just a few years ago, that Starbucks had not yet penetrated the East Village. Ah, but times are different now, even in Brooklyn, even in Williamsburg, where a Whole Foods is on its way and artists are being kicked out of the lofts that they, well, basically started Williamsburg in. The two most-begrudged themes of urban change in New York seem to involve gentrification and nanny-state restrictions on things considered "bad for us." You might say they go together, and often they do, but that makes these judgmental limitations on our behaviors—too much salt, too much sugar, too much soda, not enough exercise, drinking too much—no less annoying. New York wants New Yorkers healthier. And, frequently, less fun. Which is funny, even ironic, because New York City was the place people have historically flocked to live with fewer rules, not more. Where we could be unhealthy, the way we wanted to be, without our small town telling us otherwise. Living the dream, as it were. That's why having things threatened, like our right to cheaper-than-normal booze at our favorite establishments, makes us very, very mad.