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Report: Cabaret law to be repealed today; they'll be swinging, swaying, records playing

Report: Cabaret law to be repealed today; they’ll be swinging, swaying, records playing
City Council today is expected to repeal the 91-year-old cabaret law that prevents people from dancing at the majority of city bars and restaurants.City Councilmember Rafael Espinal from Brooklyn introduced the repeal bill earlier this year. “It’s over for the cabaret law,” said Espinal, who also introduced the city’s Office of Nightlife with a yet-to-be-appointed Night Mayor.Some background via The New York Times:In New York City, only 97 out of roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments have a cabaret license. Obtaining one is costly and time-consuming, requiring the approval of several agencies, and only businesses in areas zoned for commercial manufacturing are eligible.And!The Cabaret Law was enacted in 1926. It made it illegal to host “musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other form of amusement” without a license. The law is widely believed to have originally been used to target racially mixed jazz clubs in Harlem, but it was broadly applied. Music was not permitted at unlicensed bars at all until 1936, when the law was amended to allow radio- and piano-playing. The same year, operators of a ship that had taken men from the Bowery Mission on a day cruise were fined for running an unlicensed cabaret because a tap dancer was on board.Updated 6:30 a.m.Unsolicited statement via the EVG inbox…When asked about the repeal of the NYC Cabaret Law, Gerard McNamee, former executive vice president of community affairs and special operations at Webster Hall and now candidate for Senior Executive Director of Nightlife for New York City declared, “The cabaret laws have been the bane of Gotham proprietors and revelers alike since the days of prohibition. It’s a long time coming, let’s dance! Congratulations New York City.”

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