New York has discovered a way to charge people for looking at the night sky, and it looks like the state is taking full advantage of the new discovery.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is now offering a stargazing permit for those wanting to observe the night sky in a number of parks throughout the Empire State.
The state office released a pricing guide for the permits in December of 2019.
For anyone wanting to look at the cosmos in 2020, it’ll come with a hefty fee if they plan to use any of the listed New York state parks.
Residents of New York will pay $35 to look at the stars according to New York guidelines.
For those out of state who inexplicably want to travel to New York for stargazing, they’ll have to shell out a whopping $60 for the privilege.
The permits allow “after sunset parking for stargazing only” at locations in Hither Hills, Jones Beach, Robert Moses, and Gov. Alfred E. Smith parks. For Wildwood and Montauk Point parks, the permit only allows stargazing from a parking lot.
Who says you can’t connect with nature in New York?
The issue of paying for stargazing privileges was brought to the forefront after one of the state’s permits was photographed and uploaded to Twitter.
The permit is numbered 0226, which means there are likely 225 more people who were duped into paying to look at something that has been free for the entirety of human history.
— Sal the Agorist (@SallyMayweather) January 22, 2020
News of the permit drew widespread criticism over New York’s nanny state attitude and the government’s attempt to monetize a free and educational hobby.
Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson even waded into the conversation, issuing a scorching rebuke to New York’s shameless attempt to pad the treasury.
“No,” Tyson wrote. “Back in the day, you didn’t need permission to look up at the sky.”
No. Back in the day, you didn’t need permission to look up at the sky.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 22, 2020
Permits for activities like fishing and hunting at least make sense — after all, nobody benefits from an uneducated hunter or angler unknowingly devastating fisheries and forests.
But stargazing doesn’t damage anything. Those that look at the stars do not take away any resources, and the celestial bodies shine just as bright as before they were observed.
Americans pride ourselves on our freedoms — something much of the world can’t boast about.
When it comes to states like New York, restricting that freedom and then selling it back to the public is apparently too lucrative to ignore.
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