An Inspiration to Us All

stoop.jpg
A random stoop, not VanRy's

If you're not familiar with Kimber VanRy's fight, it's worth reading this little story in the Times today. VanRy is a Prospect Heights man who decided to indulge in a refreshing Sierra Nevada beer on his stoop last August. His beer drinking was sadly interrupted when he was issued a $25 summons for public drinking as part of what the Brooklyn Paper calls "a very sporadic and entirely arbitrary police crackdown on front-stoop beer drinking."

Rather than just pay the $25, VanRy hired a lawyer and appeared in court five times, believing it wasn't right to be ticketed for drinking on his own stoop, far from the sidewalk and bothering no one. He also said, "that it goes against some long-held traditions, particularly in the outer boroughs, of sitting outdoors and meeting people that walk by randomly. You get to know each other's names and their dogs' names. That's one of the charming parts of living in one of the boroughs."

Judges and court officials were stunned to see somebody following through to fight a $25 summons. Last week, the case was tossed out of court on a technicality with the judge saying it had just gone on too long. It wasn't the sort of victory VanRy was looking for, but we'll still be raising a glass to him this weekend. Whatever your feelings on stoop drinking (I'm strongly in favor of it), VanRy deserves to be lauded for challenging a law he believed was unfair and antithetical to neighborhood traditions.

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