Diary

Great NYC Nanny-State Moments: Banning roll-down storefront gates

The always entertaining New York city council is one of the best “nanny state” governments in the country, telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat, that you can’t smoke, or whatever they want to control at the moment.

I suggested that the New York city council might be interested in objecting to the terrorists coming into the city for year-long “bash America” trials, but no one objected to that. Not a single person on a city council of 51 people. No hearings on the terror trials and New York City’s security. Nothing. Clearly, the council had better things to do.

Like this, from Thursday’s New York Times:

Bringing Down the Curtain on a Symbol of Blight
By MANNY FERNANDEZ
Published: December 2, 2009
New York City’s storefront gates, like its fire escapes and stoops, are there but not quite there: the unnoticed wallpaper of New York at night. They have been battered by vandals and defaced by graffiti taggers. They have secured diamonds, handmade tortellini and other valuable commodities. They have provided the clattering soundtrack of dawn and dusk, the steel canvas of struggling artists, the most compelling evidence that the city does, indeed, sleep.

And now, on orders of the City Council, roll-down gates have joined the ranks of fatty foods and cigarette smoke: they have been legislated against, some right into extinction.

The Council voted on Monday to ban the kind of security gates that completely shield commercial storefront windows and doors from view — ones that resemble old-fashioned auto garage doors, with narrow horizontal slats that rise up like a steely sort of curtain — while permitting the kinds of gates common in suburban shopping malls that allow passers-by to see inside.

Let’s hear from a business owner:

“If the government pays, then O.K.,” said Mr. Lee, the owner of the shop, who was not surprised to learn that the government would not, after all, be covering the cost of a new gate. “They make law, law, law, and people’s life is more difficult.”

But Mr. Business Owner, isn’t this exactly what a Democrat-controlled legislature does? The government makes new rules regarding your private property–and you pay!

What’s next for tommorow? New light bulbs in every store? Banning the color black? Banning soda? Requiring green roofs for every building? All signs in three languages? Nanny-state laws are good for you!

The new law applies to new gates after July 1, 2011 and to all gates after July 1, 2026. At least there’s that long lead time.

While some gates are covered in graffiti, others are painted with beautiful designs relevant to the neighborhhod and/or the business. See here and here. It seems incredible that these beautiful and functioning gates would be outlawed!

If businesses are required (by an all-knowing city council) to have see-through gates, then see-through gates it is.

When you walk by at night (as I often did), just don’t stare too closely at the rats!