Resident Advisor reports that the New York City Council is expected to repeal the Cabaret Law this week.
The council will vote on Tuesday for a bill that ends the “no-dancing” law, which was first enacted in 1926. Brooklyn councilman, Rafael Espinal—who’s become an important advocate for nightlife and independent culture in the past year—told the The New York Times that he has secured the 26 votes necessary to pass it.
The law’s been challenged a few times since the ’90s, both on the grounds of its free speech implications, and for its racist origins as a way of targeting mixed jazz clubs in Harlem, though never successfully.
It’s the culmination of an almost year-long campaign to bring down the legislature, led by a coalition of groups like the NYC Artist Coalition, Dance Liberation Network, Legalize Dance NYC and the founder of the annual Dance Parade. The law’s been challenged a few times since the ’90s, both on the grounds of its free speech implications, and for its racist origins as a way of targeting mixed jazz clubs in Harlem, though never successfully. Only about 100 of the city’s roughly 25,000 bars, clubs and cafes have the license they need to legally host dancing, according to the terms of the Cabaret Law.
“It’s over,” councilman Espinal told the The New York Times when asked about his expectations for Tuesday’s meeting.
Espinal also successfully passed a bill to create an office of nightlife in New York City, a position that will bring together artists, nightlife professionals and the city government.
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