First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post.
The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze.
Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort.
One of the goals listed in the “request for proposal” document to community groups is “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol,” the document states.
“Talk about a nanny state. Why don’t they just close all the liquor establishments?” quipped Mike Long, a former liquor-store owner in Bay Ridge and head of the state Conservative Party.
“This is absolutely insane. They want to run the retail establishments in New York,” said Long, who likened the effort to the temperance movement of more than a century ago.
Health officials and advocates have also discussed banning liquor advertising seen by millions of straphangers in the transit system.
“Reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion in retail and general (trains, buses, etc.) settings (stores, restaurants, etc),” the department’s document says.
The department yesterday, declined to discuss specifics on how it would implement the controversial proposals.
“The city’s goals for the Partnership for a Healthier New York are in line with our ongoing strategies of promoting healthy eating and physical activity and discouraging tobacco, excessive alcohol use and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” a spokeswoman said. “Specific proposals, however, are still in the planning phase.”
Scott Wexler, president of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, vowed to go to court to fight any unilateral action by City Hall.
“More social engineering by Mike Bloomberg. What a surprise!,” Wexler said.
But health officials cite an army of statistics to defend the crackdown.
Alcohol-related hospital emergency-room visits doubled for underage New Yorkers from 2003 to 2009, and one in 10 hospitalizations are booze-related, while one in six adult New Yorkers report heavy drinking.
Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of homicides and 28 percent of vehicle-crash fatalities.
Community leaders hailed the effort.
“Any effort that enhances community input in issuing liquor licenses is a good thing. The . . . process of approving liquor licenses is problematic,” said southern Queens Community Board 10 chairwoman Betty Bratton.