Aaron in Washington Square Park (Photos: Daniel Karel)

As you can probably smell, New York State recently legalized recreational marijuana use. The legislation was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 31, mere weeks before the annual stoner holiday on April 20. Yesterday, throughout the five boroughs, New Yorkers celebrated their new freedoms by bringing their biggest and most outrageous smoking devices to public spaces. Unsurprisingly, by midday, Washington Square Park looked like someone had plugged in a fog machine. 

Pot’s legalization is a major milestone — New York is the 15th state to legalize recreational use — but there are still some significant gaps between what the law seems to promise and the reality of cannabis buying and consumption. According to experts, recreational cannabis won’t be available in stores until, at least, late 2022, which means that any legal purchase still requires a doctor’s prescription. And while the new legislation makes it possible to retroactively scrub a prior marijuana charge, a massive backlog of over 100,000 cases means that it might take years before anyone sees a change in their record. 

But 4/20 is about forgetting worries, and the revelers who spoke with Bedford + Bowery yesterday were happy to discuss their pot preferences while enjoying a hazy spring day in the park. 


Favorite thing to do when high in NY: Most of the time I go to work, but I like just walking around, going to places like this. Just relaxing, enjoying the day, especially now that it’s legal. We earned it — it’s long time coming!

Best thing about legal street smoking: Just the freedom. People always say smoking weed is bad, but I’ve been smoking weed 20 years and it’s been the best 20 years of my life, so…

Preferred way to smoke: I love bongs. Water pipes. I’ll hit this up [gestures to massive joint] on special occasions like this, but mostly bongs.

Strain of choice: Oh, Haze. New York City Haze from the ’90s. It’s only 14, 15 percent [THC level] — not the 20 percent today, but that’s New York’s bread and butter right there. 

Senithia and Iamlegend

Favorite thing to do when high in NY:

S: Eat!

I: Walk around and explore.

Preferred way to smoke:

S: Roll up.

I: Backwoods.

Best thing about legal street smoking:

S: No harassment from smoking a blunt. 

I: No police activity.

Strain of choice:

S: Sour diesel.

I: Sour diesel.  


Favorite thing to do when high in NY: Sit at parks and people-watch, definitely. 

Preferred way to smoke: It varies. There’s the old-school way with joints, but there’s the new generation with e-pens and everything. If I’m home I’ll roll up one, but if I’m outside or working, e-pens all the way.

Best thing about legal street smoking: Not feeling fear. I can be comfortable now without people judging me like it’s something bad, or cops looking at me in a negative way. 

Favorite strain: I stick to mostly hybrid strains. Too much indica or sativa gets me too wacked out. Hybrids kind of mellow me out.


Favorite thing to do when high: I’m director and writer, so that. Anything creative, really!

Preferred way to smoke: Volcano vape. I prefer the body high, it’s more direct. I like the way it feels. 

Best thing about legal street smoking: I actually don’t feel the transition because I’ve been doing it in New York freely all my life, pretty much! It’s good.

Strain of choice: I’ll say True OG. 

Sam and Noah

Favorite thing to do when high in NY: 

N: Eat!

S: Walk around the city. 

Preferred way to smoke

N: I’d say bong. It’s the quickest, most efficient. 

S: Yeah, bongs. They’re cold and nice so it makes your throat cool. Or a blunt, sometimes, because I like the head high too. 

Best thing about legal street smoking:

N: Hopefully it starts to become less stigmatized…

S: Oh my god! It’s so nice to just be outside and feel the sun on your skin and not worry.

Strain of choice:

N: I’m a big fan of Girl Scout Cookies. 

S: I really prefer sativa, because I can still function. Indica makes me fall asleep.


Favorite thing to do when high in NY:  I like to go see some art; go out, get some food and maybe a cup of coffee. 

Preferred way to smoke: Can never go wrong with joints! Right now it’s all about the flavors, the terpenes. 

Best thing about legal street smoking: Walking and not having that feeling of being paranoid or getting harassed by police or anybody. It feels good.

Strain of choice: Right now I’m smoking on some Cali weed!