Skip to navigationSkip to content
AP Photo/Mel Evans
It’s just to cold to order in.

New York City’s mayor tells people not to order Seamless during a major blizzard

By Matt Phillips

New York is banning travel by “non-essential” vehicles starting at 11pm as an enormous snowstorm approaches. And the city’s mayor would like to make it clear that food delivery bicycles are not essential vehicles.

The travel ban is aimed at keeping roads clear for the flotilla of snowplows that will be needed to dig gotham out from the storm, which is expected to dump one to three feet of snow across the region. During a press conference explaining the restrictions, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio was asked about the propriety of ordering food delivery in the middle of dangerous blizzard. (Timestamp: 40 minutes.)  New Yorkers, notoriously dependent on takeout food, have been debating the propriety of using Seamless in the midst of a serious winter squall.

“A food delivery bicycle is not an emergency vehicle,” De Blasio replied. “So…no.”

The mayor added that the city’s streets should be free of anything that “has to do with leisure or convenience or takeout food or going to movies. We’re not doing that. As of 11pm, get out of the way so that we can make this city safe.”

As a practical matter, banning food delivery settles the question of ordering in food during horrible weather. But is it a moral quandary as well of a logistics issue?

Those that operate food delivery services pooh-pooh such concerns, and for good reason. Inclement weather has a tendency to drive their sales up sharply. Of course, the owners aren’t the ones pedaling a bike through six inches of slush to deliver your pad thai. And there’s good reason to wonder about the ethics of ordering-in during awful weather.

And while there’s no clear consensus, it seems obvious that, if you do order in during a deluge, one thing is for sure: You have to tip really, really well. Sadly, however, there are some indications that New Yorkers don’t.