Adult establishments cannot be confined to certain neighborhoods, judge rules

August 31, 2012 12:30PM

So-called “adult establishments” have the law of the land on their side. State Supreme Court Judge Louis York yesterday ruled that a city law that sought to have these “60-40 establishments” — or adult establishments that also sell non-adult items — operate in designated locations or reduced in number is unconstitutional, Gothamist and the Wall Street Journal reported.

“What the city is really regulating is the content of expression,” Judge York wrote in his ruling, “clearly a violation of the plaintiff’s rights to freedom of speech.”

The effort came first from Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to ban these shops from residential neighborhoods — and to keep them at least 500 feet from places of religious worship and schools — was met by the stores stocking up on other items, so they wouldn’t be considered adult establishments. The city has tried to make Giuliani’s vision become a reality since 2001, either by closing the stores down or moving them to industrial areas.

The city plans to appeal the decision.

“The city’s ability to regulate adult establishments is critical to preserving neighborhood quality of life,” the Law Department said in a statement. [Gothamist] and [WSJ]