Anti-Smoking Inspectors Adopt Hip Disguises
The health department’s gone undercover — and their new inspectors are “younger and hipper-looking than the stereotypical bureaucrat,” reports The New York Times. Why should healthy department spies need to dress up quite so much, just to ferret out nicotine junkies?
“They have had difficulty gaining access to the clubs when patrons are actually smoking.
‘Some of the clubs where smoking is going on tend to be very, very cool clubs, and a bunch of guys showing up in jackets tend to be very, very uncool,’ said Thomas Merrill, general counsel for the health department.”
Not anymore, kids. Not anymore. Now, the team “[works] into the wee hours, posing as patrons and hunting for tolerance of smoking by clubs’ employees.” And their tight jeans and extra vigilance are paying off: Exhibit A: the potential, disputed closure of M2. Exhibits B through P: the 15 other clubs and bars the department has recommended the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings revoke the licenses of.
According to Daily Intel however, the still inspectors might not be hip enough:
“As soon as the Times published that article, I knew there was going to be a crackdown,” says Joey Morrissey, M2’s managing owner. For a mayor who’s admitted he scowls at smokers on the street, the Times story couldn’t have been easy to ignore. But tight door policies prevent health inspectors from consistently entering some of the upscale venues like Goldbar that were featured in the article; instead they’ve targeted larger, more accessible clubs like M2. After the story, Morrissey says, city officials hung around “every night we were open for two weeks.”
While mega-monstrosities like M2 and anything goes grunge/hipster mainstay Lit Lounge are fair game, higher-end venues are just as shielded as before. Hence, those with the money and the preference for sleek are free to run wild. The rest — the people who can actually get into places like M2 — are subject to the law. If Bloomberg’s forces are going to truly derail New York nightlife and police our vices, they’re gonna have to step it up.