Hit like few others by the pandemic, New York seeks new formulas to reactivate its economy and its mayor, Eric Adamsdecided to bet on dance as a way of breathing new life into the Big Apple.
This week, Adams proposed modify urban planning regulations to facilitate the opening of discos and clubs in areas of the city where right now their existence is almost impossible or, simply, so that more businesses can add dancing to their leisure offer.
“Think of the owner of a tapas bar who has live music on weekends and wants to limit a small space to dance, but sees that he cannot under municipal regulations. Let’s change that “no” for a “yes” and let people dance,” explained the councilor during an act, who has stood out as a nightlife lover.
The initiative is part of a broader plan designed by Adams and his team to try to reactivate the local economy and make life easier for small businesses who are often stifled by the city’s complex bureaucracy.
“Too many agencies don’t understand that part of their mandate is allow the city to grow and flourish“, said Adams, who insisted that the usual “no” from local authorities to many private initiatives must become a search for alternatives to allow them to come true.
The difficult history of dancing in New York
In the case of dancing, the limitations come from far away and have been a workhorse for decades in a city that is sold as a world capital of leisure and culture.
For almost a century, the dance was technically prohibited.a in most bars in the Big Apple as a result of the Cabarets Lawa rule with racist overtones approved in 1926, in the middle of the alcohol prohibition law.
Until 2017, when it was repealed, that law limited the dance to establishments that had a license that was extremely difficult to obtain and that barely had a hundred of the over 25,000 bars and restaurants in the city.
Although it had not been applied in practice for years, the Cabarets Law stopped businessmen who wanted to open dance venues and discriminated against certain communities for which dance is a central element of their identitylike Latinos and blacks according to their detractors.
That racist character was linked to the law from its inception, since it is widely accredited that the main reason for its creation was to take measures against jazz clubs in Harlem where people of different races mixed.
“Now that the historically discriminatory Cabarets Law has been repealed, we applaud Mayor Adams for taking the next key step in removing the ban on dancing in so many restaurants, bars and clubs,” Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York Times, said in a statement. York HospitalityAlliance.
“After such a difficult time, New Yorkers deserve the right to dance freely and celebrate our great cityadded City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers.
Important to Latinos
The great architect of the elimination of the Cabarés Law, former councilor Rafael Espinal, explains that the measures proposed by Adams are a necessary “second part”, since the zoning regulations continued to create impediments for dancing in a good part of the city.
Espinal, of Dominican origin, stresses that the change “is something very important for Latinos” and will end the “anxiety” that many local owners -particularly Caribbeans and people of color- felt the possibility of being punished for allowing dancing in their venues.
“Dancing is a part of Latino culture and the city will be kind to it,” says the politician, who now heads a freelance union.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.