Is Drinking a Beer on your Stoop a Crime in New York?

Well, that really depends upon where your “stoop” is sitatuated and whether the police officer thinks you have an open container.

In Brooklyn New York a Prospect Heights man was issued a ticket for drinking beer on his front “stoop,” which was several feet from the public sidewalk and not enclosed by a fence. The man was checking his email and drinking a beer at 11:52 pm when a police officer drove up and handed him a summons for drinking in public.

The issue for the court will be whether the “stoop” in front of his four (4) story, twenty (20) unit cooperative building is “public” or “private” property? The man stated that he and his fellow apartment dwellers had been doing this for years without incident, but that’s for the court to decide.

In areas like Brooklyn, where apartment dwellers do not necessarily have their own private outdoor spaces, congregating on the stoop is a way to enjoy the outdoors and to watch the goings on of their own neighborhood. Whether a police officer can issue a summons for drinking in public under such circumstances will be decided shortly. In the meantime, the man plans to contest the ticket.

The moral of the story– be careful where you drink your Brooklyn Lager, or be sure to enjoy one with your friendly New York real estate litigator!!

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