Update: NYC Adult Stores Dodge Bullet

NEW YORK, NY – Lawyers for adult businesses outside of recently designated adult zones have won a temporary stay of execution. The stay, delivered by the same judge who April 12 ruled in favor of a city crackdown, requires a five-judge panel to sign off on higher appeals before the city can begin padlocking the adult stores.

Jets Stadium on Manhattan’s West Side will be the biggest landmark in one of the city’s rezoned adult districts, according to the Appellate Division’s decision. The ruling would force many adult businesses to close shop and move to industrial areas on the island and outer boroughs. The stay allows some 200 adult businesses breathing room while awaiting permission to appeal.

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 40 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 ten 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 Division ruling reversed this.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauded the court’s decision by 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 ghettoes.”

Now that their stay has been granted, attorneys for adult businesses are banking on an argument before the state, which does not carry an automatic appeal if the case goes against them.