The Big Apple’s reputation as the city that never sleeps is at odds with its outdated licensing laws.
For the past 91 years, it has been illegal to host “musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other form of amusement” without a special cabaret license in New York City. That license is so costly and time-consuming to acquire—it requires the approval of several agencies, and only businesses in commercial manufacturing zones are eligible—that only 97 out of the more than 25,000 food and beverage establishments have one, reports The New York Times.
That’s likely to change on Tuesday—which also happens to be Halloween—when a bill to repeal the Prohibition-era law (known as the Cabaret Law) comes before the city council. The man behind the bill is Rafael Espinal, a councilman who represents Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, which is home to a number of unlicensed dance venues.
A spokesman for the mayor said in an email to the Times Monday that Mayor De Blasio “strongly supports repealing the law.”
The expected repeal comes a little more than a year after the city ended another anachronistic law that prohibited restaurants from serving alcohol before noon on Sunday (advocates called it the “Brunch Bill”). Four decades earlier, New Yorkers were finally allowed to play pinball after a 30-year ban.
While many of these quirky century-old laws are finally being rolled back, there are plenty that remain, including one that outlaws people from walking around on Sundays with ice cream in their pockets and another that prohibits window puppet shows.