The New York Town Where Eating Peanuts While Walking Backward Is Really Illegal

Everyone watches as the guards lead the man into the courtroom. He's dressed in the trademark orange jumpsuit, his wrists are bound in handcuffs, and two armed officers stand on either side of him. Even a single glance at the man is a clear indication that he knows nothing but a life of crime, from the tattoos on his face to the empty, almost lifeless eyes that slowly shift to look around the courtroom like some kind of predator. Although this man has every right to a fair and equal jury, every juror on that stand already knows their verdict: guilty. The judge bangs on his gavel and, once the defendant is seated, he reads out the crimes of the accused: caught eating peanuts while walking backward downtown.

If you're ever in the town of Greene, New York, such a scenario may not sound too unlikely. On the surface, this town seems like any other small town in the United States, with its website boasting a wide range of activities and sights like museums, libraries, and even its own theater. You can also visit the historic 1810 Juiland House for a cozy stay in a piece of American history. In all respects, the town of Greene seems to be a friendly, welcoming place.

But what the tourist brochures don't tell you is that there's actually a very unique law that pertains to this little piece of New York — one that cautions you on what you eat and where you walk.

Avoid eating peanuts and walking backward in Greene

We don't know about you, but who doesn't get a thrill when they're walking backward down the sidewalk, popping peanuts into their mouth like they own the place? Who doesn't get excited at the idea of telling society to take its conventional way of walking and stick it to someone who cares, cracking peanut shells as you brazenly scoff at big government and the law? It seems the town of Greene, New York, doesn't find it funny — or at least that's what the town law indicates.

According to Westchester Magazine, the law in the town of Greene clearly states: It is illegal to eat peanuts while walking backward when a concert is playing. That's the law, plain as day. If you were planning to do a bit of free-walking while the local band's playing, then you'd have to save it for somewhere else. But all jokes aside, just where exactly did such a bizarre law come from?

The truth is that we're not exactly sure where such a law came from or what inspired it. Perhaps the law was written during a different time period and, while it made complete sense thanks to the standards and culture of the time, it now seems totally alien. Ticket Sarasota speculates that the laws may have just been jokes that wound up being written down in the history books, a product of someone's sense of humor that was never expected to be taken seriously at all.

New York has another weird food law

While we may never know the exact reason why such a strange law exists, it's actually not the only wacky and weird law involving food and drink in New York. According to MoneyInc, another example of bizarre New York law states that it's illegal to put an ice cream cone in your pocket on a Sunday. 

Although this is speculated to be a "blue law," or a law that regulates entertainment, businesses, or purchasing certain goods on a Sunday (via Cornell Law School), it's still unclear as to what exactly this law's origin is. Maybe it's for the sake of fashion, to keep modern New Yorkers from looking ridiculous? 

One prevailing theory about this weird law comes from Only In Your State, which tells us an urban legend of people sticking ice cream cones in their pockets only to be followed by horses who wanted to get a taste too. This was supposedly a popular trick done by horse thieves, who could lure a careless horse away with some ice cream, then capture and sell it. As to why it's illegal on Sunday specifically isn't made clear, however.

Who knows? Maybe in a few decades, our descendants will be laughing at us for having such ridiculous laws. But just to be safe, avoid putting ice cream in your pants and walk forward the next time you eat peanuts. Who knows who's watching?