We’ve written extensively about bizarre laws from other great American states, but in case you didn’t know, there are some illegal things you should steer clear of doing even in the somewhat progressive state of New York. Most of the laws we’ll showcase below and some of the most ridiculous ones ever to have been invented have their origins back in the day, when people used to be a bit stranger than nowadays.

Fortunately, we were unable to discover any that might restrict you from using your BMX bike on a Sunday. Oh yes, in some states there are a lot of things that you aren’t allowed to do on Sundays, such as Michigan’s law about scowling at your wife on this great day.


Flirting costs good money

If you decide to leave the online dating game to those who know how to do it and you want to try out some good old flirting, be prepared to cough up as many as twenty-five dollars for the fine you’re going to get. The law gets even more ridiculous when you look at it closely, and even more so for men.

Male citizens residing in New York are not allowed to turn their heads around and look at women in a specific way, although there hasn’t been anyone to define ‘what way’ we’re talking about. But we definitely know what they mean, right?


Drying your clothes

Americans spend a lot of money on their electrical bills, and that’s because many households have washers and dryers or combos. The fact is that taking advantage of a sunny day can help you save good money and you’ll also be friendlier to the environment. But if you want to hang your clothes on a clothesline outside, you have to get a special license to do it.

Needless to say, nobody actually pays for that license because otherwise, approximately half of the population living in Brooklyn would be risking a fine or jail time.


Wearing a mask along with someone else

Congregating in public while you’re wearing a mask is illegal, and this law is very old indeed. It has existed ever since 1845, when farmers dressed up as Native Americans and attacked the police anonymously. Why did they do that? The explanation is rather simple – the price of the wheat had lowered, so they were unhappy.

When you really think about it, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this law, especially seeing the social turmoil going on in the rest of the world. Terrorists might not wear masks in order to be inconspicuous, but it doesn’t hurt to have a law for this specific purpose, does it?


Mechanical bull riding

This law is only present in Nassau County, so if you’re ever in the area and you’re looking for a bit of fun, you won’t be able to engage in this pastime. In Hempstead, this type of leisure activity is strictly forbidden.



If you are planning a move to the City and you also want to take your beloved ferret with you, think again. You are not allowed to keep such exotic animals, ferrets in particular, in apartments in the City. We don’t know exactly what the problem that called for this law was, but it must have been some type of incident to convince the lawmakers to issue it.

Cat and dog hair

While most people in the world are looking to get rid of the pet dander and hair that might be present in their living spaces, apparently there were some individuals at one point in the great state of New York who tried to make some extra money by selling these.

It’s outside the law to sell dog and cat fur, but if you plan to do the same with fox, bobcat, lynx, or coyote fur, you won’t get in trouble in any way.


Sanitation trucks

This one is more or less recent and it became necessary because of the number of incidents that resulted in so many cars speeding past sanitation trucks. You aren’t allowed to do this if you live in the City, but also some other parts of the state. Whether you plan to reach your destination at your leisure or as fast as possible, it doesn’t matter. You just can’t speed past sanitation trucks.


Puppet shows

If you want to land in jail for as many as 30 days either because you need a break from your life or because you’ve grown tired of paying for your own food and lodging, the safest way to do that is by putting on a puppet show in your window.

This law applies for New York City alone and it is illegal only for residential windows. Of course, we still think that it would be ridiculous for the police to waste their time checking all the windows instead of catching the real bad guys — but that’s only our opinion.


Helium balloons

While some laws actually made sense back in the day, we can’t seem to find anything wrong with this activity. You are not allowed to release more than twenty-five helium balloons, and this rule is probably due to the fact that you can’t control them and you’re creating litter by accident. There aren’t any details as to whether this 25-balloon rule applies only in a day or in an area, or anything else.

Throwing balls at people’s heads

Yes, you read that right. It’s outside the law to throw a ball at someone’s head just because you’re in a fun mood. In some cases, people can actually get hurt depending on the velocity of the ‘weapon’ or its weight — as it might sometimes happen in basketball, for instance.

If you liked reading about these laws and would like to find out more from other states, we suggest you browse through some of the other articles we have published in the past. They might be enlightening if you’re planning a move to somewhere new.