NEW YORK — The federal lawsuit that seeks a preliminary injunction over adult zoning regulations in Manhattan is gearing up, with oral arguments in the case set to begin on Thursday, Jan. 24.
In the spring, four adult businesses — the adult bookstore The Erotica, along with three adult cabarets, New York Dolls, Satin Dolls and Lace Gentlemen's Club — filed for an injunction over the city’s ability to enforce a 2001 rezoning law that has been held up by litigation.
The adult establishments contend that should the 2001 rezoning law be allowed to go forward, the restrictions on where strip clubs, adult book stores and other adult-themed businesses will be so onerous that the only foreseeable outcome will be their closing, extinguishing a constitutionally protected form of expression in the five boroughs of New York.
The zoning regulation prohibits one adult establishment from opening within 500 feet of a school, a church or another adult establishment, the suit said, making it almost impossible to open a new business in Manhattan.
Industry attorney Erica Dubno, who represents one group of clients in the adult establishments’ consolidated case, told XBIZ that the proliferation of adult establishments has taken a big dip in the Big Apple in the past 25 years. In 1993 there were 177 adult establishments in the city, currently, there are 20.
“The city has agreed on a stay on enforcing the  rules,” Dubno said. “Lawyers for the city presumably recognize the constitutional importance here.”
Mayor Bill DeBlasio, the current New York City leader who claims to be progressive, will offer testimony in the case. His administration has made it publicly known that it will continue to support the Mayor Rudy Giuliani-era law, which ultimately threatens sexual civil liberties.
The state Court of Appeals upheld the 2001 regs last year, resulting in the adult companies reactivating their suits at the federal level.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley III will be hearing the case at Manhattan federal court. Motions in the case begins in early October.