Strip clubs and other adult-themed businesses were once prevalent throughout New York City until Mayor Rudy Giuliani led a rezoning that pushed them to industrial neighborhoods on the fringes of the outer boroughs. Now the only strip clubs that exist in Manhattan are in "grandfathered" locations that have previously held adult-themed uses, and the outer borough locations are coming under attack from local residents who are sick of the clubs being in their neighborhoods. How are they making them go away?
The New York Times reports that activists in neighborhoods's like Hunts Point and Long Island City are attacking the clubs' liquor licenses by pushing the SLA to either not approve or rescind their rights to sell booze. This is forcing some marginal clubs to close because the revenue from dancing can't nearly match the loss of revenue from liquor sales.
But before they go pole dancing in the streets, activists and club owners should note that the Show Palace in LIC recently challenged the SLA's decision regarding its liquor license and won, with a State Supreme Court judge determining that the SLA ruling was both arbitrary and capricious. As Show Palace attorney Albert J. Pirro explains: "[W]hether a girl is dancing naked in front of other people, people who are paying for the privilege, what does it really have to do with the liquor license?" How true. The SLA is currently challenging that decision and the club still isn't serving booze.
Will this victory stop the attacks on strip clubs? Suing the government takes a lot of money and time, things that business owners often don't have a lot of. And with the loss of other clubs, customers looking for a lap dance will only be forced to visit the older clubs like Rick's Cabaret or the Hustler Club, only strengthening their position in the market.
· In New York City, Making Strip Clubs Go Dry, Then Go Away [NYT]
· Nightlife Coverage [~ENY~]