Weird Laws in New York Anything
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Weird Laws in New York

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List of strange state laws on the books in New York. These rules and regulations were passed by the New York state legislature, or in an individual New York city, and for one reason or another, were never overturned, remaining active on the books until this day. Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned or even nonsensical laws on the books, and they can come about for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, the laws appeared in the books following a court ruling on a specific case, that then set a common law precedent from that point on.

Strange or unnecessary laws have become a popular source for humor, online and more generally in popular culture. TV shows like "The Simpsons" have had a lot of fun with the notion of small towns having peculiar regulations on the books. (In one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants.)

Often, "dumb laws" as reported on websites and in humor books have been shown to be inaccurate. This sometimes happens because a real, sensible law has been exaggerated or misunderstood, turning into something that sounds silly or ridiculous. Other times, it is simply the result of a hoax being repeated enough times to gain some kind of credibility. If you think any of the laws on this page are not accurate or do not remain active in New York, let me know in the comments below.
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  1. 1
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    Going Topless in Public is A-OK

    Women may go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.
  2. 2
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    If Jumping Off a Building Doesn't Kill You... the City of NYC Will

    The penalty for jumping off a building is death.
  3. 3
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    It's Illegal to Call Sons Homophobic Names

    It is illegal for a father to call his son a “f*ggot” or “queer” in an effort to curb “girlie ... more
  4. 4
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    Down 41

    Couples Must Both Agree that Their Differences Are Irreconcilable

    New Yorkers cannot dissolve a marriage for irreconcilable differences, unless they both agree ... more
  5. 5
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    Thou Shalt Not Wiggle Thine Fingers at Fellow Citizens

    Citizens may not greet each other by “putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the ...
  6. 6
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    No Slurping Allowed

    People may not slurp their soup. (Ocean City)
  7. 7
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    There Goes Everyone's Social Lives

    It is against the law to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun.
  8. 8
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    Carrying Ice Cream Cones in Your Pocket is Prohibited.. on Sundays

    A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket.
  9. 9
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    Suitable Bathing Suits Only, Please

    If one wishes to bathe in the city limits, they must be clothed in a “suitable bathing suit”. more
  10. 10
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    Choose Your Concert Snacks Wisely

    During a concert, it is illegal to eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalks. (Greene) ... more
  11. 11
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    New York Enforces Awkward Elevator Rides

    While riding in an elevator, one must talk to no one, and fold his hands while looking toward ... more
  12. 12
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    If You Find Yourself in a Wagon, Keep Your Clothes On

    It is illegal to disrobe in a wagon. (Sag Harbor)
  13. 13
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    No Pinball Machines on the Lord's Day

    Pinball machines are not to be played on Sunday. (Ocean City)
  14. 14
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    Kim Kardashian is Essentially Banned from the Streets of New York

    It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”.
  15. 15
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    new! You Can Join the Army at 18, But You May Not Smoke Until You Are 21

    In 2013, NY voted to raise the minimum smoking age to 21
  16. 16
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    Keep Your Flirting to Yourself

    A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting.
  17. 17
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    They Have a Pretty Generous Slipper Policy

    Slippers are not to be worn after 10:00 PM.
  18. 18
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    Limit How Often You Sleep in Your Backyard

    It is against town ordinances to camp out on your own land more than 72 hours a month. If you ... more
  19. 19
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    Looks Like You Won't Be Making Burgers at Your Next BBQ

    Raw hamburger may not sold. (Ocean City)
  20. 20
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    Avoid Eating and Drinking Outdoors

    It is illegal to eat in the street in residential neighborhoods, and the only beverage you can ... more

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