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international news _ Jonty Skrufff _ 8th July 2005

New York Down To Its Last 212 Clubs

Civil liberties champions Paul Chevigny and Norman Siegel launched a lawsuit against New York authorities this week over the US city's infamous anti-dancing Cabaret Laws.

"We are filing this case because the zoning and licensing restrictions have been a millstone around the neck of the arts of dance and music in New York City for decades," Mr Chevigny told the Village Voice, who added that just 212 venues in the entire city now have licences to dance (compared to 12,000 in the five boroughs in 1960).

"Most New Yorkers think we're making it up," his collaborator civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel told NY Newsday. "They don't believe c if you get up and move your body to a jukebox and that bar or restaurant doesn't have a cabaret license, it can be padlocked."

Speaking five years earlier, Mr Siegel identified notoriously puritanical mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the key architect of the draconian anti-nightlife drive, and suggested the campaign represented a broader attack on freedoms.

"You had a group of people who had a different vision of what freedom is about, and they used the police to carry out their vision," Mr Siegel told the Village Voice in August 2000.

"People say to me, this is not that significant because it's only restricting dancing. But that's how you lose your freedom; it comes incrementally," he said.

http://www.legalizedancingnyc.com/whoweare.html ('In 1997 Rudy Guiliani created the multi-agency Nightclub Enforcement Task Force to crack down on clubs as part of his "Quality of Life" campaign. Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington goes on the record stating, "We've been closing down these little buckets of blood (nightclubs) for about three years and paralyzing them." . . .')

Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)