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Day After Sugary Drink Ban Fizzles, Mayor Seeks Volunteers

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A day after the courts blocked it, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking restaurants to voluntarily stop serving sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

The mayor appeared with city officials Tuesday at Lucky's Café, a Midtown restaurant which has opted to serve smaller drinks.

The owner of Lucky's, Greg Anagnostopoulos, ordered his own menu change after a court ruled the Board of Health cannot ban sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces from restaurants like his.

"I just see it as smart eating, smart drinking," Anagnostopoulos said. "I said, 'You know what? Let me look into it, let me see what's this is about, what is the negative effect of eating or drinking too much sugar."

Speaking to reporters, Bloomberg and city officials said they hoped other restaurants will follow suit as the city has formally filed an appeal.

"In the meantime, we're asking all restaurateurs to do the responsible thing and voluntarily serve portion sizes that are appropriate to humans, as Lucky's is doing today," said Dr. Thomas Farley, the city health commissioner.

Anagnostopoulos limited the size of drinks at Lucky's after his doctor told him to watch himself. He took it a step further, capping the size of artificially sweeted drinks as well.

The mayor pressured would-be successors to keep his soda battle going.

Bloomberg said, "The job of saving your life, or at least giving you the information to save your life, is the primary purpose of being elected. I don't know why you would waste your time doing it, and I don't think you should be elected if that's what you're trying to do."

But Bloomberg's perceived favorite, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, does not support the ban.

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio does, and he flanked Bloomberg on Tuesday. De Blasio's camp pointed out that Quinn has taken thousands from money from soda executives.

"The bottom line is she's in the wrong place," de Blasio said.

Quinn counters she has the best record of all the candidates on public health issues.

Back at Lucky's, the owners said customers do not even mind the limit on beverage sizes.

At one table, though, patrons sparred over Diet Cokes about soda.

"They should really find something to do and fix the problems we really have," said one opponent of the ban.

To that, the mayor would point out that more people worldwide are dying from overeating than starvation.

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