As the NY Times reports, Mayor Bloomberg has taken his ‘quality of life’ initiatives another step that threatens the music and nightlife scene in New York City: “City Noise Code Gets Stricter; Fancy Meters Will Aid Ears.”
Police will now be armed with meters to measure noise levels coming of clubs so they can determine if they can slap them with thousands of dollars of fines. Admittedly, that’s better than just having fines handed out because of arbitrary, subjective decisions about noise but it’s still a tool to beat club owners (and patrons) over the head with and this new method easily can (and will) be abused no doubt.
Similar measures were taken in Austin, TX over the last few years and there were some dust-up’s between the clubs and the city but ultimately, many of these things were resolved because the city and music community know that they can and should work hand-in-hand.
Sad to say, that’s not New York’s M.O.. Though Bloomberg pays lip service to the struggling CBGB’s, he more often than not tries to push through and enforce laws to punish clubs for being ‘bad neighbors’ to surrounding residents. The fact that these clubs pull in money for the city, attract many people from out of town and are part of what makes NYC such an appealing place to live and visit doesn’t seem to wash at City Hall. This crack-down on music and clubs is going to continue until clubs, patrons, musicians and others remind Bloomberg of this.
This is a crucial time as Eric Demby of Legalize Dancing in NYC reports that a judge is about to decide on a suit to decide if the recent downtown Manhattan club crackdowns enforced with the decades-old Cabaret Laws.