NEW YORK - Over the weekend images came to light of a concert given in the tony town of Southampton on Long Island by the Chainsmokers.
The party, which featured a DJ set from the CEO of Goldman Sachs, seemed to clearly violate social distancing protocols. And Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was appalled.
“It was a gross violation of common sense. It was grossly disrespectful to fellow New Yorkers," Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday.
When we commented on social media that enforcement of violations by the State Liquor Authority, or SLA, has been a little lax in the glitzy Hamptons compared to working-class neighborhoods in Queens, a spokesman for the Cuomo administration said on Twitter that “Long Island has the second most SLA violations after New York City.”
But that doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. In fact, there have been very few citations issued in the Hamptons over the last five months, even as New Yorkers flocked there in big numbers to escape the city.
As of Wednesday, out of 534 violations issued to bars and restaurants by the SLA since the outbreak began, only four of them were in the Hamptons. The overwhelming majority of the citations were in the five boroughs.
“To me it’s apparent that the enforcement is selective," said State Senator Julia Salazar. "That it’s disproportionately impacting low income communities, communities of color. And this has always been true of S.L.A.’s enforcement long before the Governor’s Executive Order. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that the new regulations from the Executive order on restaurants and on consumers are going to affect people in New York City more than say, the Hamptons and in Suffolk County."
The Hamptons comprise the towns on the East End of Long Island, which have long served as a summer getaway and playground for New York’s most elite.
"This is about protecting public health -- and from Madison Avenue to Montauk, we will go after bad actors wherever they put New Yorkers in danger," William Crowley, a spokesman for the S.L.A., said in a statement.
The apparent disparity in enforcement mirrors a similar trend when it comes to issuing summonses to people who flout New York’s open container law. According to Gothamist, 91% of those who were issued a ticket for having an open container here in the city were people of color.
Salazar and Assemblyman Robert Carroll are sponsoring a bill that would end New York’s open container law once and for all.
“You can go into my district and see that people are drinking in prospect park, going to bars, having a beer. And these folks are majority white. And I have not heard of them receiving a ticket," said State Assemblyman Robert Carroll.
In addition, 57 bars and restaurants statewide have had their liquor license either revoked or suspended. The vast majority of those have been in the five boroughs, and not a single one has been in the Hamptons.