If the battle to kill a proposed ban on large sugary drinks were likened to World War II, the Southern Brooklyn coastline played the role of Normandy this weekend.
The soda industry lobby unleashed an all-out assault on the densely packed beach at Coney Island, with dozens of activists on the sand and a banner-carrying plane overhead in an effort to win the public’s hearts, diets and wallets. From there, they established an outpost at the United Artists theater, also jam-packed with movie-goers escaping the brutal heat outside, with clipboard-wielding workers in T-shirts stating, “I picked out my beverage all by myself,” and pro-soda ads screened before every film.
New Yorkers for Beverage Choice, the beverage industry lobby group behind the push, flew this banner over the Coney Island and Rockaway beaches this weekend and on July 4 as part of an effort to educate New Yorkers about the ramifications of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks.
Several weeks ago, Bloomberg’s Administration has proposed a ban on beverages like soda in containers larger than 16-ounces in New York City restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, coffee shops, delis, pizza shops, and food trucks or carts.
“No one tells us what neighborhood to live in, what team to root for, or what deli to eat at,” said New Yorkers for Beverage Choice in a video on their website, entitled “Where Will it End?”
The goals of New Yorkers for Beverage Choice are to convey to New Yorkers that standing up to the Bloomberg Administration’s ban is about defending their freedom and rights, and to persuade them to sign petitions and submit comments to the Board of Health to ensure their voice is heard.
The city’s Board of Health will decide whether or not to endorse Bloomberg’s proposal after a public hearing on July 24.