This will be one more factor in the Democratic re-blighting of New York City.
During the Giuliani years, there was a certain type of liberal who whined incessantly about everything that had been lost. What had been lost were slums, blight and crime. Now Democrats are in charge and they are working hard to bring them all back.
Criminals are to be put back into housing projects. Mayor Bill de Blasio has gone all out on aiding criminals. And now even Giuliani's forced rezoning that kicked adult businesses out of Times Square has been overridden.
As part of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s efforts to clean up the city and cut crime, the City Council in 1995 passed a zoning resolution that banned erotic cabarets, stores and other establishments from operating in certain areas, including residential neighborhoods, and within 500 feet of another sex-related business, a school, or a house of worship.
The resolution described the establishments as ones that dedicated a “substantial portion” of their business to sexually explicit material. Businesses challenged the law in 1998, claiming it was vague, which prompted the city to issue regulations saying an establishment was “adult” if at least 40 percent of the display and stock had sexually explicit content.
But no sooner had it clarified its position than the city began charging many businesses with what it called “sham” compliance with the law. The city argued that even though stores and cabarets abided by the technical letter of the 60-40 amendment — crowding the X-rated materials with “I Love New York” T-shirts, ceramic taxis and Statue of Liberty foam crowns — they remained erotic establishments, attracting the same thrill-seeking consumers and causing the detrimental effects on their neighborhoods that the original law sought to eradicate.
The State Supreme Court belatedly decided that's fine.
In the 3-2 decision on Tuesday, which upheld a 2012 lower court ruling, Justice Barbara Kapnick wrote for the majority that even if the clubs “regularly feature topless dancing,” the law does not demand they be closed or relegated to the farthest reaches of the city. Writing in dissent, Justice Richard T. Andrias, accused the majority of using a flawed “mechanical and mathematical approach” that skirted the law’s intent to contain sexually explicit businesses.
He's right. And if this were cigarettes or anything else that Democrats disapproved of, you know how that decision would have gone.
This doesn't mean that Times Square instantly becomes a dump again, but it does mean the city will have trouble enforcing the law and as Bill de Blasio's pro-crime policies make some formerly safe neighborhoods dangerous again, this will be one more factor in the Democratic re-blighting of New York City.