New York City, NY

10 Weird Laws in New York City

Genius Turner
Not only is NYC the "City That Never Sleeps" but it's also the city with weird laws.(Franco Folini/Flickr)

New York City — "Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today," Sinatra once sang. "I want to be a part of it New York, New York . . ."

Indeed, like so many others, I moved here "to be a part of it." Of course, part of the "it" consists of NYC's weird laws.

In New York City, it's illegal to sell cat or dog hair. I shared this weird law with my cousin while we were on FaceTime. She frowned, slowly gliding fingers through her silky hair extensions.

"Well," she said, "thank goodness horsehair is still legal!"

In short, because the word weird is synonymous with "uncommon," here are ten weird laws in NYC.

1. Flirting is illegal and can result in being fined $25

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A guy walking down Broadway smiles at a lady. After a brief exchange, he politely asks for her phone number.

"Oh, I get it . . ." the lady says. "You want my number so I can text you a friendly reminder of the $25-flirting fine you'll have to pay. Right?"

2. It's illegal to divorce for "irreconcilable differences" unless both parties agree to it.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A lady, with arms folded, storms in the door. She flings divorce papers on the table. "I want a divorce, Mikey!"

Mikey — reclined on the La-Z-Boy — yawns. "Baby, whenever I see you I turn into a sheep who wants you 'Baaaaad'. So I disagree with your request."

3. It's against the law to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

The Jets and Giants are a combined 26 wins with 71 losses over the past five seasons, the worst mark in the NFL . . . by far. And so, if a frustrated Jets or Giants wide-receiver complains, the quarterback can always use this excuse:

Sorry pal, but the reason my throws keep being off-target is that it's illegal to throw a football at someone's head. —Quarterback
Don't blame the quarterback for this season's errant throws; blame lawmakers.(All-Pro Reels/Flickr)

4. It's illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on a Sunday.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

Pharrell Williams is shopping in SoHo. Of course, he's wearing his stylish, trademark Icecream jeans — with the ice cream cone pictured on the jeans' back pocket.

A security guard blows a whistle. "Sir, those jeans are against the law! Next time, try 'yogurt-print' instead.

5. It's illegal to hang clothes on a clothesline without a license.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

"Hey Billy," a nosey neighbor says over the fence, "how come you replaced the clothesline with a rope?"

Billy smiles. "I don't have a 'clothesline license', so from now on I'll be hanging clothes on this 'clothes-rope.' "

6. It's a law that men, outside their homes, must wear matching jacket and pants.

Hypothetical scenario:

A colorblind man has trouble matching clothes. And so, he buys his entire wardrobe from the UK clothing line called "Match Clothing."

Problem solved.

The End.

7. Illegal to stand in public with two or more other people whose faces are covered by masks.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A guy tries to enter Club 1 OAK's Halloween party. A beefy doorman stops him. "Buddy, your name's not on the list. So get lost!"

The guy is furious. "Aw yeah, well, wait until I report how many people are illegally partying inside with their faces covered by masks!"

"Ok . . . Ok," the doorman whispers. "You can come in."
But if it's Halloween, use the "illegal mask" hack.(Cory Doctorow/Flickr)

8. Talking to someone on an elevator is against the law.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

"Hey, pal," a security guard warns. "It's illegal to speak to people while riding this elevator!"

The guy shakes his head. "Sorry, but I was chatting with a friend on my invisible hands-free phone. Just so happens I made eye contact with this here lady while accidentally waiving at her."

9. It’s against the law to run a puppet show in a window.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

A manager attempts to train a new employee. But the new employee abruptly quits.

"Why'd you quit?" the manager asks.

"Because," the new employee says, "if customers walk by our store's window and see me copying your behavior, they'll report — we're illegally 'running a puppet show.' "

10. It's illegal to take selfies with a tiger.

  • Hypothetical scenario:

"Hey Tiger, you're my favorite golfer. Can I take a selfie with you?" a fan asks.

Mr. Woods shakes his head. "Sorry pal, but taking selfies with a tiger is against the law."

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My writing is popular in academia (biology, psychology, etc.) and on websites such as Quora (millions of views) and Medium. Also, I'm signed to the same literary agency as Eckhart Tolle. In short, I'm an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God.

New York City, NY

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