Pastor Claims Sunday Brunch Ban 'Discriminates' Against Non-Christians
GREENPOINT — Thou shalt allow sidewalk brunchers every day or no day, the holy woman said.
A Greenpoint pastor declared the city's ban on Sunday morning sidewalk brunches unfairly favors those observing the Sabbath on Sundays, and that the biased law should either be revoked or extended to every day of the week.
"The law clearly discriminates against others who observe Sabbath on other days of the week," the Rev. Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church wrote yesterday to the Williamsburg Community Board 1, which has recently pushed the city to crack down on local eateries offering outdoor Sunday seating before noon.
"Therefore, it would be my hope that the community board would petition the city to eliminate the law altogether," she continued.
The letter, which was posted on the local site Greenpointers, refers to a law that has existed in New York City for over 40 years but which is generally ignored — until the Williamsburg community board's public safety committee pushed the Department of Consumer Affairs to step up enforcement last month, as the Brooklyn Paper first reported.
"This would keep sidewalks open for Sunday morning walks to church," the committee's chair Tom Burrows said of the rule, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
And at the committee's meeting Tuesday night Burrows simply repeated, "It's a law."
But Kansfield said religion was no justification for the arbitrary limitation.
"There's no Sabbath law that counts the number of steps you have to take to get to church," she told DNAinfo New York Wednesday.
"A Christian without a sidewalk cafe on a Sunday is like a fish without a bicycle. As in, they're totally unrelated."
Irked by the Sunday morning timing of the ban, Kansfield suggested that the law either be in force 24/7— "I'm sure there are even some people who take a Sabbath day on Wednesday," she said — or, more appropriately, be abolished.
"Clearly anyone can walk around brunchers, whether they're walking to church, to synagogue, to wherever," she said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Consumer Affairs said the agency inspected the restaurants in response to the community board's request.