Six Crazy Laws #5 NYC Edition!

There has been a lot of talk going around about what is and isn’t illegal in the great state (and city) of New York. Certainly we here at take the charges and gripes leveled at the NYPD very seriously… or at least the rest of Crave’s channels do.   In light of the NYPD’s tactics handling the Occupy movement and the potential golden shower the Empire State is giving the Bill of Rights, we thought it would be a good idea to look at some laws on the books in the Big Apple and surrounding areas.

Here on the comedy channel, we’re going to take this opportunity to look at some of the crazier laws that might not have a lot to do with who can, or can’t set up tents… but instead ask the question:

Is it illegal to run a puppet show in your window in NYC?

Yes. The fine is up to 30 days in prison. It should also be noted that the “puppet show” you are subjected to in prison will be much much worse. Also their definition of “puppets” leaves something to be desired.

Clowns, however, are still perfectly (in inexplicably) legal.  

In an attempt to provide perspective,  here are the six craziest laws we could find for the State of New York, not including the one we just gave you for free. We should point out here that we do nothing to check if these laws still exist  so if you get a cop in your face it might not be the best time to bring it up. Those guys just can’t seem to take a joke. Officer grumpy.

(also I know we are doing laws form the WHOLE state… but shush… that’s it… shush!)

#1. In New York City a fine of $25 can be levied for flirting. More specifically men turning around on any city street and looking "at a woman in that way." A second offense means a man is forced to wear a "pair of horse-blinders" wherever and whenever he goes outside his home.

I think it’s pretty clear this law isn’t on the books or enforced anymore.  If it was, every man would be wearing blinders. And don’t get me STARTED on the famous New York construction workers!  Am I right ladies? (::canned applause::)…

This is a pretty daunting condemnation of unwanted flirting. Of course, it doesn’t SAY "unwanted" flirting. It just says flirting. Clearly, dating in NYC is a dance of subtlety. If you think the blinders for offenders policy of this law goes too far, wait until you see the locked oven mitts they make you wear or feeling up a girl on the bus. (Why do I feel like being locked in preventive devices is exactly what some perverts WANT? Ug.)  In addition, some versions of this law say a man can be penalized (their word, not mine) for using “The Standard Leer”. Ha! That is so the name of my band.

#2.  In the WHOLE state, citizens may not greet each other by "putting one's thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers".

The may be the first law I’ve reported in any of these articles that I have no real clue as to why it might exist. I am going to guess mob related? Er. Maybe? Either way, it seems strange to legislate about greetings. Especially because in the world of law anything legislated against means all the rest is legal. So, if this is illegal,then greeting each other by firing machine guns into the street IS legal. I mean it’s as legal as it can be with all the gun laws. Greeting each other by lightly cupping the genitals? Legal. Greeting each other by screaming the names of all your past lovers in order? Totally fine. Greeting each other with a swift punch to the kidneys? Peachy Keen!  Funny nose thing? Nope.   Clearly “Freedom of Speech” does not cover finger wiggling.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the state known for its “Fun City” wants to take the fun out of stuff. Check out this bonus law:

BONUS: While riding in an elevator, one must talk to no one, and fold his hands while looking toward the door.

New York is boring. Wow. Either that or some legislator really had a bad time in an elevator. I suspect Aerosmiths’s Love in an Elevatoris banned there too. Now be quiet, look forward and here comes some more laws. Farting, however, is still allowed by law… as long as it is not interpreted as an indication of conversation.  Clearly someone would rather endure a strager’s fart than a polite greeting.

#3. A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket.

I’ve never been quite as sure a law has some hidden sick origin as this one. I just can’t come up with any answer to why this law exists that doesn’t involve a creepy guy with a thousand yard stare. Or perhaps the people of NYC just wanted to avoid wasting ice cream, I mean that stuff is pretty great. Plus this law is probably old enough that every ice cream cone was pretty rare.

Did you just waste an ice cream cone by putting it in your pocket? Off too the big house with you sir!

Anyway, the issue here is not why this is creepy, or why anyone would put ice cream in their pocket, or why this law is restricted to Sundays. No, the issue here is that this is a LAW. Whatever happened to the poor legislator that wrote this, I’m so sorry. Oh god, so sorry. I bet he cringes when the ice cream truck goes through town.

Also, no joke, the ice cream sundae was created to get around the “no ice cream cone” law and was traditionally only sold on Sundays.  

#4. Slippers are not to be worn after 10:00PM

I had to re-read this one a few times. Its the 10pm part that gets me. I mean I guess I could wrap my head around the idea of slippers being outlawed after 10AM for some sort of “not lazing around the house” reason. However when it comes to not wearing slippers after 10PM, I mean… WTF! government! Get off our backs. You get between a man and his slippers and it’s going to be trouble! Occupy Shoe Trees! Attica! Attica!

Seriously though, the only possible explanation I can think of here is a very angry law maker who’s wife complains endlessly about his cold feet in bed. “Well, honey, I can’t wear slippers to bed. You read the law!” It’s not that funny unless you find massively self indulgent abuse of power tragedy funny. And. I. Do.

Keep the government out of our bedrooms!  

#5. In New York City it is LEGAL to ride the subway topless for both men and women. In New York, Women may be topless in public at any time, provided it’s not being used as a business.

Ok I have a couple of comments here, but I might get distracted  because thinking about topless women does cause the mind the drift off…

First… of all the places a women might go topless in the city of New York I feel like the subway would be last on the list. Actually, a prison or mental ward would be tied for last on that list, but subway has got to be pretty low down there. Considering the constant commuter complaints that people are groped, leered at, or generally made to feel uncomfortable in the subway, I can’t imagine anyone being interested. Would you take the risk of it becoming a giant mechanical rape cave?

When I lived in the city, I never wanted to ride the subway outside of a Hazmat Suit, so if anybody wants to go in there without a shirt, man or woman, more power to you.

Secondly, Its the second provision of the law that really gets me: Women can go topless as long as its not being used as a business? Presumably, they mean prostitution, unless there is some other business benefited by topless women…. like EVERY business. Actually, it’s a shame this law isn’t more specific.Think of how much money a girl could make walking around with advertisements written on her ta-ta’s. That, my friends, is the American Way!

Furthermore, I don’t know that I would want my Cold Cut Combo made by a topless sandwich artist.  (Subway?  Get it?  Subway?!)

Oh, but then there is this:

BONUS: In New York It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”.

Wait… Topless is ok, but body hugging clothing is not? Confused? Me to. But at least we’re confused thinking about topless folk, and not like Federal Constitutional Rights or something.  

#6. In New York City it is against the law to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun.

I’ve never wanted to be a lawyer until right now. Why? I want to have to defend the guy who chucked a ball at some poor dude’s head.

“Your Honor… our case hinges on the fact that when my client tossed a ball at Mr. Johnson’s head, he was, in fact, not having any fun and therefore I ask that all charges be dismissed immediately.”

Clearly, of course, it’s also illegal to throw a ball at someone’s head to hurt them. At least I hope it is, otherwise, I’m taking the next bus to NYC with a bag full of baseballs and a very short, well thought-out, list of grudges. Well ,not the next bus to NYC, but the next one after I take a long intensive class on pitching.

In all seriousness, I think this makes a good point:  it should be illegal to bean a poor schmuck in the face with a hard ball for your own amusement. One has to ask:  where are the other laws? Where is it illegal to toss a bee’s nest into somebody’s car for “fun?”  Can I light a man’s torso on fire for fun? Can I fire guns into car engine blocks for fun? If it’s good enough for one law, it must be good for the rest.

Or we can just be good humans! Sheesh.

There are more crazy laws here on



Also our comedy podcast, “This is REALLY Happening!” has a special episode on strange laws too located here. Laws Podcast.