How many places can you go in America where you're not breaking the law by drinking alcohol outside in public?
Well, not many, but East Aurora is one of the 11 (arguably 12, although the Manhattan mandate is kind of murky), according to digital media company Thrillist's list of places where cracking a beer or popping a bottle of wine in public won't get you arrested.
From our archives, an East Aurora trustee contested the absence of a law in 2009, and then, according to Kristy Kibler of the East Aurora Advertiser, a concerned resident revisited the issue with the village board again last April.
Each time, village officials and law enforcement agreed that open containers in East Aurora weren't a problem, that those who caused a ruckus with public intoxication would have open containers with or without a law in place. No such law has been in place since the formation of the village in 1874, Karen Robinson reported.
These two quotes from Kibler's piece neatly sum up the rationale for not passing a law:
"'I like the idea that responsible adults can wander down the street with a glass of wine in our village,' Trustee Randolph West said. 'I think that's a reasonable thing.'
That opinion was echoed by [Trustee Ernie] Scheer and fellow Trustee Alfred McCabe, who added 'You shouldn't be a criminal if you walk across the street to your neighbor's house with a beer.'”
East Aurora does enforce disorderly conduct and vandalism, which may be encouraged by public intoxication, Kibler adds. A glance at the village's e-code (177-1) prohibits an open-container in a public park without the necessary permit, however.
Beyond East Aurora, a suburb southeast of Buffalo, the closest location without an open-container law is Erie, Pa.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who's more of a bottle than a can guy, at firstname.lastname@example.org