1916 Zoning Resolution

In 1916, New York City adopted its first Zoning Resolution which created residence, business, and unrestricted use districts. There is no mention of eating and drinking establishment, cabarets, or dance hall in this original resolution. The Resolution was repeatedly amended until 1961 when a new Zoning Resolution was adopted.

Zoning Resolution As of 1960 Prior to 1961 Revision

The 1916 Zoning Resolution as amended prior to 1961 included provision restricting the location of cabarets, defined to include dancing and music but not restaurants with fewer than three instruments. This provision was added to the 1916 resolution in 1955.

Comment to CityLand Article Rezoning and Remnants of Cabaret Law of June, 2022

Alan D. Sugarman submitted this comment to an oversimplified article appearing in CityLand. The article ignores abusive regulation of dancing and music by the State Liquor Authority, with Community Boards, requiring licensees to comply with an approved Method of Operation, which regulation will persist even with changes to the Zoning Resolution … unconstitutional demands as to type of music and other issues.

Use Group 12 §32-21

Use Group 12 applies in purely commercial and manufacturing areas and allows establishments with dancing.

Use Group 6 §32-15

Use Group 6 applies in mixed commercial-residential areas. In eating and drinking establishments, does not allow dancing or music if there is a cover charge, so that venues cannot cover the cost of hiring musicians.

1961 Zoning Resolution Use Groups – Music and Dancing

The 1961 Zoning Resolution introduced provisions allowing in Use Groups 6 and 12 musical instruments to be played without obtaining a cabaret license, limiting the number of instruments to three, and restricting the type of instruments to “piano, organ, accordion, guitar, or any string instrument.”