100-person poll

100 New Yorkers on the New Rules of Outdoor Drinking

Illustration: Maxime Gérin

The summer of socially distanced outdoor drinking is here. On a recent Saturday, we asked 100 people at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park about porta-potties, open-container laws, and 2020 etiquette.

Have you been drinking outside?

Yes: 95%
No: 5%

“But only because I’m pregnant”

If so, how often?

Every day: 1%
Weekly: 62%
Sometimes: 32%
One or twice before: 5%

Are you drinking …

Less: 44%
More: 26%
Much less: 15%
Much more: 8%
About the same: 7%

Are you going into other people’s apartments after drinking?

Yes: 33%
No: 67%

How many friends are you usually going out with?

Just one person: 6%
2-3 people: 44%
4-5 people: 41%
6-7 people: 8%
I don’t care how many!: 1%

Where are your favorite places to drink right now?

Check all that apply:

At the park: 70%
At home: 43%
At outdoor bars: 17%
On the street: 16%
At outdoor restaurants: 12%
Other?: Everywhere”

What are you comfortable doing these days?

Check all that apply:

Drinking in parks: 97%
Staying home: 96%
Getting to-go drinks: 92%
Drinking while on the street: 69%
Drinking at outdoor bars: 64%
Eating at outdoor restaurants: 51%

“I’m generally uncomfortable eating at restaurants. Only have done it once, when it actually felt distanced.”

Have you made out with anyone new after going out drinking?

Yes: 22%
No: 78%

Have you had outdoor sex during this time?

Yes: 3%
No: 97%

“This has been a dream of mine.”

Have you gone home with anyone after going out drinking?

Yes: 13%
No: 87%

How are you feeling about spending time in the city right now?

I want to escape of move out of New York: 9%
I want to escape, but only for a quick vacation: 35%
I’m managing: 25%
The city’s never been more fun: 9%
I’m actually visiting: 0%

“It’s tough but we love our city.”

I feel safe using …

Check all that apply:

Public restrooms: 74%
Porta-potties: 56%
Hidden spots: 54%
Going in public: 20%
None of the above: 11%

Have you used a public restroom?

Yes: 71%
No: 29%

“I’d much rather pee in the park than at Starbucks. Starbucks was gross before quarantine.”

“The Bloomingdale’s in Soho? That’s a good bathroom.”

“I’ve peed in a parking garage … twice.”

Which public restroom do you use most often?

• McCarren Park
• Starbucks
• The Strand
• Wegman’s
• Washington Square Park

Others: Soho Crate & Barrel, the woods in Prospect Park, Whole Foods on North 4th Street, the track at Astoria Park, Central Park, NYU Langone. 

Have any bars, restaurants, or stores let you come in to use the restroom?

Yes: 45%
No: 55%

Have you peed outside?

Yes: 45%
No: 55%

If yes, did you get caught?

Yes: 1
No: 44

Have you peed your pants while out drinking?

No: 99%
Yes: 1%

“Oh my God. A little. I was getting off the train to pee outside.”

If we ever go back to normal, I hope the city keeps:

Lax open-container laws: 40%
To-go cocktail bars: 23%
European-style outdoor seating: 20%
Open streets that ban car traffic: 6%

“Less prosecution for safe outdoor drinking. Looking at you, Billy de B.”

*This article appears in the August 3, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

100 New Yorkers on the New Rules of Outdoor Drinking