I got a little animated this morning and this is what happened...
St. Pats Smokefest:
I spent a few hours on St. Pats day at the Standard Hotel’s Beer Garden on St. Patricks Day (in the evening). The place was crowded, had heaters, and was a pretty chill venue. Except for the SMOKING. Everyone was smoking. While we were outside, there was shrubbery lining the outside and the garden is actually covered by the high line. Thus, there was no place for the smoke to escape easily. I did some research and this is what I found:
Is the standard beer garden technically outside? Answer – No
People are permitted to smoke in "Outdoor dining areas of food service establishments with no roof or other ceiling enclosure." It seems to me there was a ceiling enclosure.
Was I just standing in the smoking area and didn't realize? Answer - No
“Up to 25% of seating in outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or ceiling enclosure may be designated smoking areas. The area must be at least three feet away from the nonsmoking area. The smoking and nonsmoking areas must be clearly designated with signs.”
Does the bar have a waiver (as of 3/31/09)? Answer – No
What are you supposed to do when a bar is violating the smoking ban laws?
A) Post on Yelp
B) Call 311
C) File a complaint
Here’s what I wrote:
“Smoking is everywhere in the "Outdoor" beer garden. The law says smoking is ok in "Outdoor dining areas of food service establishments with no roof or other ceiling enclosure." The beer garden is covered by the highline park, so I would consider it enclosed and there is no place for the smoke to go. However, even if this “outdoor” establishment is deemed not enclosed, then the law says that “Up to 25% of seating in outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or ceiling enclosure may be designated smoking areas. The area must be at least three feet away from the nonsmoking area. The smoking and nonsmoking areas must be clearly designated with signs.” There was no smoking area, there was no 75% non smoking area, and there were no signs. Ashtrays were provided on every table, as well as candles to light cigars and cigarettes. Additionally, the hotel does not have a waiver of this law.
This is what my DJ wrote:
“On this date, I visited the Biergatren at The Standard Hotel. The Biergarten sits below the Highline - thus an enclosure/roof is established and one does not get the sense that it is actually an outdoor space. Even if the Biergarten is considered an outdoor area, there was no area that was designated for smoking - as is allowed for by law (reference: Up to 25% of seating in outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or ceiling enclosure may be designated smoking areas.) Instead, smoking at the Biergarten was pervasive - with customers smoking at nearly every table and ashtrays made available for them. Due to the set up of the establishment, there is little ventilation that would allow for the smoke to disappate. Therefore, customers and staff are subjected to high-levels of second-hand smoke. There was no no-smoking sign or policy posted - that was visible to this customer.”
Yes, she is a much better writer than I.
Honestly, this place is facing $100,000 in fines a night, but I just want the practice stopped, so I can enjoy my beer w/o having an asthma attack.
Suck it John:
John McCain had the audacity to send me an email titled “Repeal the bill” this afternoon. He said he’s in a tight race for reelection and needs more money, so that when things change he’ll be able to make changes. Most of you know my thoughts on healthcare from THIS, but to reiterate: An insurance company’s desires to pay out as little as possible contradict both 1) the so called premise of their business model and 2) the ethical desires of the populous for a healthier nation, I’d be happy to get rid of all of them. The least we should do is regulate and promote more openness and competition.
Anyway, I emailed John back – “John, You could have supported the bill and made it better, instead you tried to block and failed. Can you imagine how much better it would have been had you co-sponsored or at least tried to negotiate? This bill is so bad because of the republicans stance not to negotiate and make it a bipartisan effort. John, you failed.”
Philanthropist or Robber Barron:
I met with a very successful investor and philanthropist the other day at a UJA breakfast for the Wall Street Division. He is the 3rd or 4th speaker I’ve heard talk about his remarkable successes in finance, while not talking about his mistakes. He’s also the 3rd or 4th speaker that’s mentioned how he took profitable businesses, and made them more profitable by cutting costs, and then sold them to other companies for large sums of money. He’s considered a great philanthropist because he takes the $100’s of millions of dollars he’s made and gives a small portion to UJA, and in return, is named to charitable boards. What I don’t get, and what always comes to mind first, yet no one asks, is the basic contradiction inherent in this person’s brain. While it’s very nice that he’s donating money, which helps poor people and those less fortunate, he is also a significant contributor to the problem by firing people from profitable companies and making them poor. To me, he’s taking cash flow from the pockets of his workers, selling that cash flow at an 8.0x multiple, and then giving some of it back to the community. To me, he’s no Robin Hood, he’s the sheriff. Of course, you can’t word your questions like that at these donor breakfasts. Does anyone else see that?