In defense of drinking in the street

I dropped into Hi-Life on my way home the other day and walked out with a freshly-purchased double whiskey on the rocks that I sipped on my way home. Across the street at Fred’s, a neighborhood fixture that burned to the ground early in the lockdown, the staff was hawking IPAs and margaritas to go. I stopped there too.

Everywhere, my neighbors are convivial, well-lubricated, and above all civilized about the whole thing. Garbage, broken glass, public urination and the other concomitants of street drinking have not appeared here on the Upper West Side. Even down on St Mark’s Place, in a video tweeted disapprovingly by our blockhead governor, people seem to be behaving themselves — at least compared to the East Village status quo ante-COVID.

Perhaps public drunkenness has not noticeably spiked because we’ve spent the last three months locked in our apartments, sadly drowning the socially-distanced hours and raising the average alcohol tolerance. But I prefer to believe this represents a revolution in Manhattanite manners, a change of mind, a general shift in philosophy.