Big Apple Closes Adult Business Loophole

NEW YORK — Jets Stadium on Manhattan’s West Side will be the biggest landmark in one of the city’s rezoned adult districts, an appellate court said.

The ruling forces many adult businesses to close shop and move to industrial areas on the island and outer boroughs.

Owners of adult businesses have been squeezed by the city since 1995, when the so-called “60-40 rule” mandated that businesses devoting more than 60 percent of their floor space to adult materials would have to close or move to designated zones.

One store, Bailey’s near Times Square, famously responded by stocking Disney’s “The Lion King” in six out of every 10 feet of the store, filling the remaining space with adult videos and novelties.

When the Giuliani administration moved to close the loophole in 2001, a consortium of adult businesses took the case to the state Supreme Court, which called the city’s actions unconstitutional. The appellate court reversed this.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, running for reelection, is proposing a $1.7 billion stadium for the Jets, and the city is competing with Paris to host the 2012 Olympics.

Bloomberg lauded the court’s decision, saying, “New Yorkers won't have to push their strollers past porn shops, have topless bars for neighbors or have to worry about peep booths in the back of their corner magazine store."

But detractors say the city will lose millions in tax revenues if all businesses on the wrong side of the 60-40 rule are forced into “adult ghettos.”

"Businessmen don't go out of their way to see dressed women dance," said Mark Alonso, a lawyer for Ten’s Cabaret on E. 21st Street near midtown Manhattan. The Cabaret would have to move several blocks west to the banks of the Hudson to be in accordance with the new rule.

Adult business proprietors can still sue in the state Supreme Court, but without an automatic appeal if the decision goes against them. In the meantime they are seeking a temporary injunction so the city does not close their businesses at their present locations.