If you’ve ever seen a sign at an NYC bar that said “no dancing allowed” you may have thought it was a joke. Sadly those signs refer to an all too real and racist Cabaret Law that was enacted in 1926 to target Harlem jazz clubs. The law was also used by Mayor Giuliani in the 90’s to shut down dance clubs. Technically the only two places in Williamsburg where you can legally dance right now are Rough Trade and Music Hall of Williamsburg. From NY Times:
That is expected to end on Tuesday, when a bill introduced by Rafael Espinal, a councilman from Brooklyn, comes before the City Council. Mr. Espinal, who embraced an effort by advocates in his district, which includes Bushwick, where bars and D.I.Y. venues have proliferated in recent years, says he has the 26 votes needed to pass it.
“It’s over,” he said of the law.
In New York City, only 97 out of roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments have a cabaret license.
Fingers crossed that this gets made official tomorrow. Also shoutout to Williamsburg’s own Andrew Muchmore (owner of Muchmore’s) who has been fighting against this law for years and is mentioned in the NY Times article.