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New York City’s “no dancing law” is finally getting repealed after 91 years

Let NYC dance!

  • Harrison Williams
  • 30 October 2017

New York City’s infamous Cabaret Law, also known as the “no dancing law”, is finally getting repealed after 91 years, according to The New York Times.

During the Prohibition era, the Cabaret Law was established to patrol speakeasies. It states that only up to three musicians can play together and that no more than three people can dance inside an establishment that does not have the license, which was strongly enforced on African American jazz clubs.

According to findings published by the New York City Artist Coalition, only 88 of the 12,000 bars in the city have a Cabaret License.

Now after multiple attempts to repeal the archaic law, a Brooklyn councilman named Rafael Espinal has confirmed backing for a bill that will support the city’s small clubs and DIY venues. “It’s over,” he said as he declared he has the 26 votes necessary to pass the bill.

John Barclay, owner of Bossa Nova Civic Club, has been one of the leaders in the fight to repeal the Cabaret Law. He expressed how the law has affected the underground community.

“When we stop people from dancing, they go straight to these warehouses… People haven’t stopped dancing, they’re just dancing in these extremely unsafe, unregulated environments.

“If people are concerned that it’s going to turn into Coachella in their neighborhood, there are departments that are already regulating noise, fire, everything. It’s hyper-regulated. The only thing we are asking is to move our bodies rhythmically. That’s it.”

Espinal’s bill will officially be passed tomorrow (October 31). Earlier this year the council passed a bill that established an Office of Nightlife and a Nightlife Task Force in order to preserve and support the city’s nightlife industry.

Read about the battle to save New York City's nightlife here.

[via: The New York Times]

Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here

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