Almost A Century Later, New York City Is Finally Repealing Its 'No Dancing Law'
New York City’s controversial Cabaret Law, commonly known as the “no dancing” law is finally set to be struck down.
In a report from the New York Times, the bill is set to be replaced with a new one which was introduced by Brooklyn councilman Rafael Espinal. Espinal has received the 26 required votes to pass the bill’s replacement; Mayor Bill de Blasio has also voiced his support of repealing the law.
Originally enacted in 1926, the Cabaret Law was created to patrol speakeasies during Prohibition. making it illegal to host “musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other forms of amusement” without a license. The rules of the law changed throughout the years. Between 1940 and 1967, the city required that performers and employees of cabarets be fingerprinted and carry “cabaret cards.” Artists such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles and Billie Holiday were either denied cabaret cards or had them revoked. Frank Sinatra refused to perform in New York City for a time because of the rule.
The law’s revival in the 1990s under then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani shut down a number of dance clubs throughout the city. Even as recently as 2013 clubs have been affected by the law. Muchmore’s, a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, received a cabaret violation when a police officer spotted people “swaying” at a rock show while investigating a noise complaint.
In other related news, New York residents are petitioning to get a block in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village named after Jimi Hendrix. Residents living in the Greenwich Village area want to get the block of Eighth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues named after Hendrix, who is believed to have lived in a cottage apartment on that block.
Supporters of the renaming, including internet entrepreneur Rob Key, artist Storm Ritter, and store owner Richard Geist, believe that the renaming would not only honor the iconic musician but also attract visitors and shoppers in the area which is fighting gentrification.
“Gentrification is killing us,” Geist said. “Eighth Street has lost the magic and we want to bring that magic back, and bring traffic back to help business.”