New York to Repeal Bizarre Law That Forbade Dancing in Bars and Clubs

By Anna Breuer on 31 October 2017
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Times Square

Times Square

New York’s Cabaret Law, which dates back to Prohibition, is finally set to be struck down. The law bars “musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other forms of amusement“ in any spaces open to the public offering food and/or drink with the exception of those that obtain a cabaret license, something only 97 out of almost 25,000 such businesses have.

At the time the law was passed in 1926, the N.Y. Committee on Local Laws argued, “there has been altogether too much running ‘wild’ in some of these night clubs and, in the judgement of your Committee, the ‘wild’ stranger and the foolish native should have the check-rein applied a little bit.”

The N.Y. City Council is set to pass a bill introduced by Rafael Espinal, a councilman from Brooklyn, on Tuesday.

Even after the Cabaret Law’s repeal, New York will still have numerous anachronistic laws on the books, including ones that forbid walking around on Sundays with ice cream in one’s pockets, another that makes it illegal to sell dog or cat hair, and yet another that prohibits window puppet shows.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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