Nate Freeman, the Observer nightlife reporter who gave us the trend story about how young New Yorkers aren't having sex anymore, was sent out by the paper to see how the city was enforcing the new smoking ban in public plazas and parks. Turns out, the cops were pretty nice and low-key about it whenever he lit up, even though Freeman did his best to be the exact opposite.
"Excuse me, officer," we said, Marlboro blazing between our fingers. "How is the ban on smoking in the park going so far?" She stared at the stick burning in our hand.
"It's going well because when we ask people to put out their cigarettes, they do," she said, without asking us to do just that.
"People are being cooperative, then?" we asked.
"Most people, but you're smoking right in front of me."
"Yes, I am," The Observer replied. "Would you like me to put it out?"
"I would really suggest you do."
"So, are you telling me to put it out?"
"You do understand the rules, correct?"
"Yes," The Observer said, dragging until only the filter remained and then flicking the tar-stained bit of cotton and stale tobacco leaf into a bush. "I understand."
Ballsy stuff, eh? Of course, this trick has been played before, like when Radar sent Neel Shah to openly snort cocaine in a bunch of restaurants and bars. But smoking cigarettes outdoors and being needlessly rude to friendly police officers — that's pretty badass, too.