Cabaret Law History

The Cabaret Law and parallel provision in the City’s Zoning Resolution have evolved over time. This section provides pointers to the history from 1926 to present.

Perretti, Burton Nightclub City: Politics and Amusement in Manhatta 2007

Historian Burton Perreti’s 2007 well researched history of New York City nightlife includes a detailed 10-page background of the 1926 Cabaret Law which refutes any claim that the law was directed at Harlem, jazz, and interracial nightclubs. For Mayor Walker, the Cabaret Law was intended primarily to provide a closing time of 3:00 AM and was intended to bring the new nightlife under effective government oversight.

Muchmore Court Memorandum on Motions June 29, 1916

Memorandum and Order of Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York declining to dismiss the Muchmore complaint against the City, and, among other findings, declined to find that social dancing was unprotected expressive conduct. p 31.

Muchmore Amended Complaint

Muchmore’s Amended Complaint – falsely represented that the thee musician and type of instrument limitations were in the original Cabaret Law.

Runnin’ Wild – Most Popular Song of the Roaring Twenties – Confirmation Bias

Those continuing to claim that he 1926 Cabaret Law was intended to target jazz, Harlem clubs, and interracial clubs evidence classic confirmation bias, and continue to maintain this belief despite evidence that the belief is false. An example is the interpretation of the reference to Runnin’ Wild in the comments prefacing the Council adoption of the Law.