Welcome to the Nanny State: A Post-Soda Ban Look At New York City’s Biggest Crackdowns


Last week marked a major victory for Mayor Bloomberg, with the New York City Board of Health unanimously voting in favor of his “soda ban” on soft drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Six out of ten New Yorkers may have thought it was a bad idea according to polls, but nuisances like “public opinion” (and intense lobbying from the soda industry) haven’t gotten in the way of the initiative, which will affect restaurants, food carts and movie theaters.

Whether you agree, disagree, or just don’t care about this new obesity-fighting measure, it represents a long history of semi-draconian crackdowns used to keep this city in line, starting with the mid-19th century creation of a city-wide board of health, and subsequent banning of “free-ranging hogs and goats” on city streets.

So, you know, sometimes it’s really worked out for the best! And sometimes not so much. Grab a giant soda while you can, and click through for some of our city’s best (and worst) big-government moments.


  1. “As we all know, graffiti culture and street art quietly disappeared thereafter, and were never seen or heard from again.”

    Huh? Nobody ever said that was the point of keeping the trains from being covered in graffiti.

    The city keeping its own train cars from turning into rolling shitholes – hardly an example of the nanny state.

  2. That last graf on graffiti sounds a tad tongue-in-cheek: “street art” lives on in more than a few pockets of Gotham, and you don’t have to venture far to find it.


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