In the central concourse of Penn Station there are four or five deli counters advertising and selling draft beer. It is served in a large plastic cup with a straw. There is no place to sit in the deli so you must carry the drink out into the hallway, past the watchful eye of many NYPD, DHS, and even US Army personnel (because this is a large US transit station in the 21st century).

Beer for sale Sign

Yet there are also signs clearly stating the consumption of alcohol to be a violation of "NYC Admin Code 10-125". Is Penn Station some sort of Amsterdam-like decriminalization zone for draft beer?

I am mainly interested in the crowded central corridors. I did not discover the sign until recently as it is hidden in one of the dingy warren of corridors in the back of the station, which would not be a pleasant place to enjoy a beer anyway.

  • 1
    I believe the military people are NY National Guard; I don't think they're in federal service.
    – phoog
    Apr 15, 2016 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


The signs are correct as to the letter of the law. Here's the statute.

Your question is a good example of where an officer's "discretion" can be applied selectively. The police do not have an obligation (separate from what their job might be) to enforce all the laws. Police may determine that if you're a pain in the ass to other commuters, they'll enforce that law against you. If you're minding your own business waiting quietly, they're less likely to intercept you. (Separate from all the other reasons police might enforce laws differently against different people, of course.)

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