First they came after the hobos. Then the college students. Soon, before you know it, they come after the yuppies sipping white wine out on a front stoop:
This all ended one evening in October when my friend, a guest from California, and I were sitting on the stoop elegantly sipping from a bottle of Montinore Estate Pinot Gris as a police van slowly rolled down the block. Now in my neighborhood, the police are not an uncommon sight, so we thought nothing of it, until they reversed back down the street and rolled down the window.
“What’s that you’re drinking, boys?”
Thinking nothing of it, I responded. “White wine. Would you like a taste?”
“No thanks. You boys have ID?”
This is the slippery-slope of anti-noise, anti-loitering, and the broken-window theory of policing. Rules and regulations designed to make neighborhoods livable have the opposite effect. How can we build livable communities when all social activity must be hidden behind locked doors?
And as bad as it is in Manhattan (24 hour city, ha!), look what is going on Berkeley. Try to have some fun and the nimys will descend on you like a pack of wolves:
The Cheese Board Collective marked Gourmet Ghetto neighbor Chez Panisse’s 40th birthday by serving free slices of its legendary pizza to customers on Saturday night. The celebrations were curtailed at around 10:30pm, however, after the police, acting on a call from the public, asked that crowds disperse and the party be wound down.
‘Free delicious pizza and excellent jazz to any and all who came to join the celebration! The spirit of the gathering was beautiful; people were gently dancing and smiling on each other with a sense of community pervasive in the evening air. This was as wholesome as it gets… the Berkeley police gradually squelched and finally shut down this peaceful, life-affirming gathering.’
On weekends, it is not unusual for the CheeseBoard to draw large crowds that overwhelm the sidewalk space. This spot is a textbook location for a parklet — except the neighbors would go ballistic over losing even one parking space. So instead, pizza lovers camp out in the road median, violating numerous laws in the process: