At the time of the vote, only 97 of the city’s roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments possessed cabaret licenses, which entailed a costly and time-consuming process. When the legislation is signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, it will bring to a close an era when New York City was festooned with no-dancing signs, and multiply the places where people can openly get down.
“There are now thousands of places where dancing is legal,” said Andrew Muchmore, whose lawsuit against the city made the argument that the cabaret law limited the type of music he could play at his bar, Muchmore’s — lest it lead to dancing.
At Bossa Nova Civic Club in Bushwick, advocates threw a party on Saturday to celebrate. A D.J. wove together electronic music and familiar pop hits. Balloons bobbed over the crowd. People wore Mardi Gras beads and T-shirts that said “Let NYC Dance.”
“It’s great,” said Gareth Solan, 27, who plans to turn the outdoor venue Nowadays in Ridgewood, Queens, into a dance-oriented indoor club, and was among the first on the dance floor. “The parties are going to get better and the people who host them are going to be able to do it without fear.”
Though Mr. de Blasio’s administration did not aggressively enforce the Cabaret Law, its opponents said having it on the books chilled relations between venue owners and the authorities and drove dancing into unsafe warehouses. (Repealing the law will not lead to more rambunctious night life, they have said, because of already-existing restrictions on noise and capacity).
Councilman Espinal arrived at Bossa Nova before midnight, as the bar neared its capacity of 141. He had traded in his usual suit for a leather jacket, jeans and Converse tennis shoes. “It’s great to see how excited the city is,” the 33-year-old councilman said. “We have shown that there’s an appetite for expanding dancing around the city.”
The repeal affects only businesses in areas zoned for commercial manufacturing, where cabaret licenses were available — including parts of Bushwick, Williamsburg, Dumbo and Red Hook in Brooklyn; a broad swath of industrial Queens; a strip of the West Side and parts of Upper Manhattan; and parts of the Bronx. For dancing to be permitted in other parts of the city, zoning laws will have to change.