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Let the People Dance!

January 24,2024

Today the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s counsel Rob Bookman testified on our behalf at a City Planning Commission public hearing on Mayor Eric Adams’ “City of Yes” proposed zoning amendments. It includes an important proposal we’ve advocated for that would allow patron dancing at thousands more eating and drinking venues than currently allowed.

As you may recall, after years of our advocacy with other groups, the controversial Cabaret Law was repealed under Mayor de Blasio’s Administration. While the repeal was a great step forward, and symbolic in so much as the cabaret law was used as a handy excuse for heavy handed enforcement, it did not do anything to allow patron dancing in a single additional location - which came to the surprise of many small business owners and patrons- because the zoning laws that remained in effect prohibited dancing at many locations in the city of New York.

Both Bookman and our executive director Andrew Rigie served on the city’s Nightlife Advisory Board that was established with the Office of Nightlife, and our Report and Recommendations also included eliminating zoning dancing restrictions by location, so it would be permitted at thousands of more restaurants and bars across the city as long as the fire safety, building code, sound ordinance, and other requirements are met. 

At today’s hearing, the NYC Hospitality Alliance urged the City Planning Commission to pass the proposed zoning changes to allow dancing at many more establishments, and we offered some technical changes to the proposal to clarify its intent and application. After the City Planning Commission hopefully passes the proposal it will be presented to the City Council which will review, and we’ll urge them to pass it before it can go into effect.

The is a long overdue and welcome proposal that we will fight to enact, and we’ll keep you updated as it proceeds.