From the Village Voice:
It's surely a hackneyed complaint that the city's last two mayors have done their best to force out New York's bohemian culture in hopes of creating a future perfect Gotham. But it's also demonstrably true. Not long after the new Quality of Life Task Force began to crack down on long-unenforced cabaret laws during the Giuliani administration, the Social Club Task Force—established after the 1990 Happy Land fire—evolved into the Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH), overseen by the New York Police Department. "Unauthorized dancing" was now only one of many potential infractions.
When Michael Bloomberg succeeded Giuliani in 2002, MARCH activities rose immediately by 35 percent and kept growing. (MARCH shut down Silent Barn.) "If you listen to stories about what led to this homicide or what led to this assault, you would be surprised how many stem from nightclubs," Robert F. Messner, a police commissioner who oversaw club shutdowns, told the Times. "We don't want those places in New York. We make it very clear." In 2003, the smoking ban went into effect, outlawing one of the city's longest-running cultural institutions: the smoky jazz club. Regulations have kept creeping into other bastions of the old, free New York. The Algonquin Hotel has had to confine its lobby cat to a space behind the check-in counter, and don't even think about trying to have a bar dog.
I agree that cracking down on hotel cats and bar dogs is ridiculous. But preventing another HappyLand disaster is something the City should definitely be involved with. Most of these places are a tossed cigarette away from just that.