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Vice Capades: NYC to Gamble on Temperance

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sure a funny guy. He’s so concerned with the health of the citizenry that, on the heels of campaigns targeting sugary drinks and smoking, he wants to cut back on the availability of alcoholic beverages at local stores. Yet, at the same time, he wants people to gamble more!oceans-11

Last month the Mayor indicated his support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to bring a casino to Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, never to be outdone in enthusiasm for large, ill-thought-out projects, has lately suggested Coney Island as yet another new gambling mecca.

So…gambling? Totally cool. But drinking? Not so much. Specifically, a Health Department Request for Proposal includes the goal of “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density.”

This push-me-pull-you vice squad thinking smacks of drunk and disorderly logic. If the goal is to improve health, shouldn’t the nannies-in-charge support that goal across the board? In what universe does it make sense to frown on alcohol consumption but encourage casino gambling? Both lead to addiction for some users. Both cost indulgers money better spent on other things.

Each is a well-weathered figure in the pantheon of old-time vices. And, to turn things around, both raise money for the government through taxes. There’s no angle from which this makes sense.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    Jon, it seems Mayor Mike wants to be King of New York. I guess he forgets his history – they tried cutting back liquor in this country before. I guess he doesn’t watch Boardwalk Empire or maybe he never so The Untouchables. Whatever the case, he is definitely losing it in this third term. He needs to go out and have a drink and eat a greasy burger with some trans fat in it.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    I agree. I wonder if he drinks beer.