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N.Y Sex Businesses Hurt by Ruling

February 26, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ It was just past noon but a half dozen young women in sequins and short dresses already posed on the silvery stage or smoked at tiny red-draped tables while a handful of clients sipped drinks and watched.

``These are college students, single mothers. This is going to destroy the livelihoods of a lot of people,″ the manager of Shenanegans topless bar complained Wednesday about an appeals court ruling that paves the way for the New York to ban X-rated businesses from residential neighborhoods.

The bar advertises itself in red neon as ``topless entertainment″ in a residential block on the East Side of Manhattan.

The ruling Tuesday upheld a 1995 City Council ordinance aimed at reducing crime associated with adult businesses.

Inspectors will start cracking down on sex businesses around the city next week, said Jennifer Chait, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

City Hall said as many as 150 of New York’s 177 sex businesses could be forced to move.

``The ruling is a serious infringement on the rights of people of New York City to have access to a legitimate form of entertainment,″ said Herald Price Fahringer, a lawyer for more than 100 sex businesses, including Shenanegans.

There are loopholes.

Shops dealing in pornographic videos and magazines will be able to remain if more than 60 percent of their wares are not pornographic. Such shops could stay in business by moving porn tapes to the back of the store and adding non-pornographic tapes.

Another provision of the law would prevent new clubs from opening within 500 feet of another club, thus preventing red light districts. Shops not in compliance would have a year to move, though temporary waivers could be granted.

Mitch Garret, manager of Affinity Unisex Haircutting near Shenanegans and neighboring strip club Dangerous Curves, shrugged at news of the court ruling.

``It’s not really a nuisance,″ he said of the clubs. ``I’m sure without them the neighborhood might be more upscale, but everyone’s in business these days and people have to make a living.″

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