Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
In Time
Joined
·
3,070 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New York Leads Politeness Trend? Get Outta Here!



Resting your feet on a subway seat is subject to a $50 fine in New York, just one of several measures
that aim to make the city a more civil place.



By WINNIE HU
Published: April 16, 2006

New Yorkers are known to throw things onto the field at Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox are in town. At times they boo their own mayor at parades. Some refuse to surrender their seats to pregnant women on the subway, while others cut in line and never apologize.

But somehow a city whose residents have long been scorned for their churlish behavior is now being praised for adopting rules and laws that govern personal conduct, making New York an unlikely model for legislating courtesy and decorum.

From tighter restrictions on sports fans and car alarms to a new $50 fine on subway riders who rest their feet on a seat, New York's efforts to curb everyday annoyances and foster more civility among its residents have increasingly been studied and debated far from home.

When Chicago's aldermen wanted to keep rowdy fans from descending upon Wrigley Field, they looked to New York, Which has arrested 11 people at Yankee and Shea Stadiums under a 2004 law that makes it illegal to interfere with professional sports events.

When Boston and San Francisco lawmakers considered silencing cellphones in their movie theaters and playhouses, they, too, looked to New York, which imposed a $50 fine in 2003 on callers who brazenly dial up during movies, concerts and Broadway shows. And when community groups from Toronto to Washington looked for new ways to fight graffiti, they turned to New York, which passed a law in January that makes building owners responsible, for the first time, for cleaning up after the vandals.

With its precipitous drops in crime, New York has increasingly been able to turn its attention to policing offensive behavior, from the mere faux pas to outright misconduct that puts others at risk. And that has put it on the front line of a national crackdown on incivility.

"There's no excuse for that kind of thing," said Alderman Edward M. Burke, a leader of the Chicago City Council, who has introduced a sports fan law based on New York's. "I think it's a good idea to remind the general public of what is expected of them."

Letitia Baldrige, the White House social secretary during the Kennedy years, could not agree more. Ms. Baldrige, a former New Yorker, has heard more than her share of bellyaching over other people's rudeness.

"Most people just seem to ignore common sense and common courtesy so it does have to be legislated," she said. "To have this happen in New York is going to inspire a lot of other people. I cannot applaud it enough. My hands are tired from clapping."

The city has made sputtering attempts in the past to coax civility out of its residents. During the 2004 Republican convention, it gave protesters buttons saying "peaceful political activists." But nearly 1,800 were arrested that week. The famed Gray's Papaya hot dog chain tries a similar tack, selling "Polite New Yorker" buttons for $1. About 60 are sold a week, but most go to tourists who think they are a joke, says the owner, Nicholas Gray.

"I try to do my part," said Mr. Gray, who requires his employees to wear the button on their uniform even though he does not. "I'm not always that polite. I'm just another New Yorker."

And throughout New York's history, its political leaders have sought to restore order to the chaotic streetscape and fine-tune urban life. Fiorello H. La Guardia once banned street performances involving monkeys. Decades later, Rudolph W. Giuliani's campaign against squeegee men came to embody his philosophy that fighting crime began with the smaller, quality-of-life offenses.

But sometimes, the city's attempts to enforce the laws illuminated its hard-nosed nature: Mayor Edward I. Koch's favorite parking sign warned motorists: "Don't Even THINK of Parking Here."

Under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the city has increasingly focused on social policies that were once thought to be beyond the realm of government. Mr. Bloomberg was largely responsible for the city's smoking ban, overcoming opposition from the tobacco companies and their lobbyists to clear bars, restaurants and nightclubs of a potential health hazard as well as inconsiderate smokers.

The mayor also overhauled the city's noise code for the first time in three decades, taking aim at loud nightclubs, barking dogs and even that staple of summer, the Mister Softee jingle, all in the interests of keeping the neighborhood peace.

Given the successes, some New York officials are moving to take things even further. Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., of Queens, got the Council to expand his sports fan law last fall to include penalties for those who throw things onto the field or spit at the players. The 11 people who have been arrested under the original law, all during Yankees and Mets games, include one man who was sentenced to nine weekends in jail, fined $2,000, and ordered to stay out of Shea Stadium for three years.

This month, Mr. Vallone, the chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, introduced another measure that he calls a lesson in Parenting 101: Children under the age of 10 would not be allowed in movie theaters after 10 p.m., to safeguard both the welfare of the children and the enjoyment of the other moviegoers.

It is not the first time that the city has tried to teach children — and their parents — how to behave in public. Under a code of conduct mandated by the Council since 2003, parents can be ejected from Little League games for unsportsmanlike behavior and allowed to return only after taking an anger-management class.

"There's nothing that makes you want to crawl under the bleachers faster than some parent screaming at a kid — even their own kid — in an abusive manner," said Councilman Lewis A. Fidler, of Brooklyn, who sponsored that law.

The crackdowns have left others wondering if the metropolis once known as Fun City is fun no more.

"It sounds like your City Council is getting really uptight," said Aaron Peskin, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who, along with his colleagues, has nevertheless looked to New York's laws for guidance. "It all seems a little overwrought."

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, has not yet raised objections to these laws. But she cautioned that lawmakers could interfere with privacy rights or impose censorship when they, say, imposed a movie curfew on young children. "Legislation to set bedtime for Bonzo, or to interfere with how late parents can keep their child out at night, is a violation of privacy," she said.

Still, many New Yorkers say that the city is becoming a more civil place. The sports fan law, for one, is praised by Paul Lo Duca and other Mets players during a pregame video shown at Shea Stadium.

In the past, rowdy fans were simply escorted out of the stadium and released, which was "akin to a traffic summons," but now that they are faced with jail time, they think twice about misbehaving, said Robert J. Kasdon, the Mets' vice president of security. "It's the most effective law of its kind," he said. "Baseball is a family event, and this law helps us maintain that atmosphere."

Not all the city's laws have been as effective. For example, the ban on cellphones in movie theaters does not appear to ever have been enforced by the police. Some Council members and movie theater managers, though, contend that just having the law is enough in most cases to persuade moviegoers to turn off their phones.

But Peter Post, the director of the Emily Post Institute, which instructs schools, businesses and government organizations on etiquette, said that law or no law, good behavior could not simply be forced on unwilling people. Instead, he suggested that New York invest in a public relations campaign that reflected the sentiments of its residents.

"I think we've reached a tipping point with rudeness," he said. "Instead of people quietly putting up with rude behavior, they're finally saying, 'I don't have to put up with that anymore.' "


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
 

·
Civilization
Joined
·
2,713 Posts
Some of the things I agree with like the smoking thing but not resting your feet on a seat. Kind of a little over the top. Someone could just ask them to move. anyways interesting article.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,098 Posts
Some crazy things going on in NYC,lol!
First, no talking in subway and now these politeness action! Can't wait to hear what is next! :) :runaway: :cheers:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
79,203 Posts
Hmmmmm.... I am nervous about this. I liked the rude, dirty,filthy ever so slightly sleazy NYC of 25 years ago and hope the santization stops. Giuliani scrubbed up Times Square beyond recognition. For god sakes it is NYC and
tourists expect to be treated a bit rudely or their feelings will be hurt.
I don't particularly want my taxi driver saying please and thankyou.:)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,987 Posts
Taller said:
Hmmmmm.... I am nervous about this. I liked the rude, dirty,filthy ever so slightly sleazy NYC of 25 years ago and hope the santization stops. Giuliani scrubbed up Times Square beyond recognition. For god sakes it is NYC and
tourists expect to be treated a bit rudely or their feelings will be hurt.
I don't particularly want my taxi driver saying please and thankyou.:)
We are not the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. I have to live in this city and prefer for it to be hospitable and not have to walk around my city without having to do so in fear.
 

·
quacked
Joined
·
2,294 Posts
i put my feet on bus seats all the time if noone's sitting there, there usually isn't room to sit comfortably without doing that. if someone wants to sit then i move my feet. guess what? no-one cares or complains!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,098 Posts
ranny fash said:
i put my feet on bus seats all the time if noone's sitting there, there usually isn't room to sit comfortably without doing that. if someone wants to sit then i move my feet. guess what? no-one cares or complains!
Wondering why no one cares, cause your feet are dirty! Do you like sitting on some dirty chair after someone have stepping on it all over?
I do see the point of this just that, NYC is going to be scary,lol! :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
79,203 Posts
DonQui said:
We are not the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. I have to live in this city and prefer for it to be hospitable and not have to walk around my city without having to do so in fear.
I hope you are not living in fear in NYC, DonQui. If you feel better manners
will make you feel safer, then this will be good for you!
 

·
Pipe Layer
Joined
·
778 Posts
I was in NYC about 2 years ago and they definitely have an edgy demeanor about them. Polite? I dunno about that. But they are hospitable in a serious way. It's like customer service without the corny smile.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
79,203 Posts
mongozx said:
I was in NYC about 2 years ago and they definitely have an edgy demeanor about them. Polite? I dunno about that. But they are hospitable in a serious way. It's like customer service without the corny smile.
Well put. And I have been going there for 25 years and always felt safe. It
is a big city and you don't wander down dark alleys. I don't need the fake
gushing smiles to enjoy a city. If I wanted that I would go to Pirates of
the Caribbean!
 

·
Against ID Cards
Joined
·
9,799 Posts
ranny fash said:
i put my feet on bus seats all the time if noone's sitting there, there usually isn't room to sit comfortably without doing that. if someone wants to sit then i move my feet. guess what? no-one cares or complains!
I always put my feet on the seats on the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground unless someone's sitting there or there's not enough room. There are stickers saying 'don't put feet on the seats' but alot of people do. I've never had anyone complain; even the drivers who walk past and see it, with one exception.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
5,837 Posts
I'm pretty sure this will do nothing to envoke a little politeness out of the typical new yorker.
I'll stick to , you wanna sit down scumbag? Theres the floor! Bahhh Binggggg. Ahhhh can you feel the brooklyn in that???? Can ya feel it?

Tallerisbetter... i have actually been approached by tourists or lost people many times. I guess i just look like the kind of person you can talk to , or approach frantically.
When this happens, I either have to be in a good mood, or a bad mood.

If it's an old couple or an old person in general i never steer them in the wrong direction and if it's in my general path, i tell them to tag along for a little.

Bad mood: yeah ill tell you to go "make love" to yourself, UGOTS.
Good mood: I give you thorough and precise Directions. I speak clearly and ask you " if ya got all that, guy.
Funny mood: I tell you to take the 4 train all the way ^ UP . If were in the car, i'll totally screw you over. If you got a map, i'll tell you theres constuction in your way and to detour usually to the express. No stops :)

Otherwise.... You are all more than welcome to my city and can party at my crib and drink all my booze. Except SilverLake and Klamedia you guys can go "make love to yourselves".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,396 Posts
Politeness can be a bad thing sometimes, I, for example, am extremely polite and when someone asks me for directions I always do my best to help them. But when I don't know the area I just make up someting and send them in the wrong direction, because saying 'I don't know' seems very rude to me and I can never do it. :eek:hno:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
79,203 Posts
nygirl said:
I'm pretty sure this will do nothing to envoke a little politeness out of the typical new yorker.
I'll stick to , you wanna sit down scumbag? Theres the floor! Bahhh Binggggg. Ahhhh can you feel the brooklyn in that???? Can ya feel it?

Tallerisbetter... i have actually been approached by tourists or lost people many times. I guess i just look like the kind of person you can talk to , or approach frantically.
When this happens, I either have to be in a good mood, or a bad mood.

If it's an old couple or an old person in general i never steer them in the wrong direction and if it's in my general path, i tell them to tag along for a little.

Bad mood: yeah ill tell you to go "make love" to yourself, UGOTS.
Good mood: I give you thorough and precise Directions. I speak clearly and ask you " if ya got all that, guy.
Funny mood: I tell you to take the 4 train all the way ^ UP . If were in the car, i'll totally screw you over. If you got a map, i'll tell you theres constuction in your way and to detour usually to the express. No stops :)

Otherwise.... You are all more than welcome to my city and can party at my crib and drink all my booze. Except SilverLake and Klamedia you guys can go "make love to yourselves".
You got it, nygirl! We'll swing by and see you next time we're in NYC!
I hope you are in a good mood that day cuz I am sick of "making love
to myself"! LOL!
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top