Big news (and we mean that literally) for New York City today: One day before Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on restaurants and bars serving "sugary drinks" of 32 ounces or more was to go into effect, a city judge has invalidated the would-be law, making it easy for locals and visitors alike to enjoy their sodas, lemonades and anything else they want to drink at any restaurant, club or park in the city.
According to the New York Times, the decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them. Justice Tingling reportedly said that the rule banning the drinks was “arbitrary and capricious,” and he cited the "perceived inequity" of the soda rules, which applies to only certain sugared drinks -- for instance, beverages with a high milk content would be exempt—and would apply only to some food establishments, like restaurants, but not others, like convenience stores.
The decision was viewed with concern from locals and out-of-state restaurateurs alike: Almost exactly 10 years ago, New York City banned smoking in all bars and restaurants; within a few months, the law had spread to the whole state. Within the next several years, many other states had passed similar laws, and there was concern that other states might once again follow the city's lead. But for now, the sodas (and lemonades, and iced teas) are safe. So as spring warms the rooftop bars and the Sheep Meadow in Central Park up again, grab a sweet drink and enjoy the sunshine.