Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

May 7, 2007

Footloose In The Big Apple

by Doug Mataconis

Picture yourself at a swanky bar in New York City. It’s about 1am and there’s a jazz trio in the far corner playing something romantic. Sounds nice, huh ? Well, you better not be thinking about taking your partner’s hand and getting up and dancing, because it’s illegal to dance in a bar in New York City:

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK You can listen to the music in a New York City bar, but you better not begin tapping your feet because it could lead to dancing.

A state appeals court ruled that an 80-year-old law banning dancing in New York City bars, restaurants and certain clubs is legal.

The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division ruled that the city’s Cabaret Law permits dancing only in places that have a license.

The Gotham West Coast Swing Club and several people filed a lawsuit complaining that because the Cabaret Law barred them from dancing with other people, it illegally infringed on their right of free expression.

The appeals court disagreed, saying recreational dancing is not a form of expression protected by the federal or state constitutions.

It isn’t mentioned in the linked story, but a story about the same case from last year provides what the city claims is justification for what any sensible person would consider an insane law:

City law department spokeswoman Kate Ahlers said the judge’s ruling was “a confirmation of the city’s efforts to protect residential communities from disruptions attributed to some cabarets.”

That’s the Nanny State for you. Protecting you from all that is evil about the tango.

H/T: Radley Balko

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  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Let’s see, no smoking, no trans fats, no dancing; what can I do in the Big Apple?

  • Ted

    I hear mugging little old ladies is a smart idea. Not too much of a chance they are packing.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    The appeals court disagreed, saying recreational dancing is not a form of expression protected by the federal or state constitutions.

    Now, if they want to limit such in a city courtroom, I’m not going to be one to argue. But when you start trying to do this on private property (and yes, despite what leftists think, just because you’re a business doesn’t make your property “public”), then we’ve got a problem. This shouldn’t be a case about freedom of expression, it should be a case about property rights. But those have long been dead in New York City, so what are you gonna do?

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    And then I was just struck by another thought, based on your use of “Footloose” in the title. That movie was based on some backwater ultra-religious town in the middle of BFE that banned dancing. I know the feeling because the college (Wheaton College) in my hometown (Wheaton, IL) was one of those places that banned dancing until a few years ago…

    But this isn’t some backwater that bans dancing. It’s New York City. These aren’t ultra-religious moralists that are doing this, it’s the secular progressive moralists. The sad thing is that each group thinks the other is evil, but they’re both working against freedom in favor of their preferred group gaining control to tell us what we can and can’t do.

    What are the prospects for freedom when “both” sides of the debate want to tell us what to do?

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    But those have long been dead in New York City, so what are you gonna do?

    Move.

  • Aimee

    What are they afraid will happen? That someone gets impailed in the eye with a high heeled shoe?
    Stupid.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    Move.

    I am… Unfortunately it’s to somewhere not much different than NYC…

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    I am… Unfortunately it’s to somewhere not much different than NYC…

    We can always resell Southern California back to Mexico.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Ted,

    I hear mugging little old ladies is a smart idea. Not too much of a chance they are packing.

    I’ll keep that in mind, thanks.

  • Pingback: Attacking irrelevance « Blunt Object

  • Ted

    Kevin,

    Keep it in mind. But keep it on the down low. I’ve been told the AARP has heard about my comments, and they have sent people to hunt me down, and fixodent me to some rocks under the lake.

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