Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation repealing the city’s 91-year-old Cabaret Law.
What is a Cabaret Law, you might ask? Have you ever seen the movie Footloose? No one in the town was allowed to dance until Kevin Bacon shook things up. So, I guess de Blasio is sort of the Kevin Bacon here.
The city’s dancing ban was enacted in 1926 during Prohibition in the United States to monitor illegal operations. Dancing was prohibited in establishments that sell food and/or drink with the exception of those who obtain a cabaret license. The ban also prohibited "musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other forms of amusement" without a license.
According to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, “A Cabaret License is required for any business that sells food and/or beverages to the public and allows patron dancing in a room, place, or space.”
Assembly Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development Daniel O’Donnell called the ban “a shameful relic of racism.”
Int. 1652-A, which passed the full council at the end of October, repeals all aspects of this law except for two safety requirements and establishments previously required to obtain a cabaret license must continue to abide by these requirements: Establishments must install and maintain security cameras; and if they employ security guards, the law ensures such security guards are licensed pursuant to state law and to maintain a roster of the security guards.
“It’s 2017, and this law just didn’t make sense. Nightlife is part of the New York melting pot that brings people together,” de Blasio said. “We want to be a city where people can work hard, and enjoy their city’s nightlife without arcane bans on dancing. I thank Speaker Viverito, Council Member Espinal, and everyone who helped repeal this law, support businesses and keep our nightlife safe.”