Is NYC's 91-Year-Old 'Cabaret Law' Finally Headed for the History Books?

"It is ridiculous that in New York City dancing is just as illegal as it was in the fictional movie Footloose," says Councilmember Rafael Espinal of New York City's cabaret law.

June 20, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


New York Nightlife

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Aaron Elstein reports on a possible legislative demise for New York City's cabaret law, which was enacted "in 1926, during the Harlem Renaissance, to prevent white and black people from dancing together."

"Over the years the law has been used to close clubs and bars deemed objectionable, especially during Mayor Rudy Giuliani's tenure in the 1990s," according to Elstein. "Today opponents say it is used to crack down on do-it-yourself clubs…" Of the city's 25,000 restaurants ad bars, only about 100 have a cabaret license.

The law is the target of a lawsuit by bar owner and attorney Andrew Muchmore, who believes the law violates the First Amendment. While political leadership has supported a repeal of the law in the past, Muchmore believes the lawsuit will end the law with or without the City Council.

Monday, June 19, 2017 in Crain's New York Business

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