Rye has a number of laws regarding amusement and exhibition. Which might have you wondering what's the difference. Well, I use to think that "amusement" was something naughty you did at home and "exhibition" was when you did it in front of old ladies. And it usually involved opening your raincoat to show you had nothing on but tube socks. Recently, I found it means something else entirely. Here are my findings.
(By the way, if you meant 'What's the difference?' in an existential way -i.e, 'what's the point?'- you'll want to check out something more profound than this piece. Like Jean Paul Sartre or Neil Diamond.)
Now, by definition, there are only two places in town where you're legally allowed to be amused: the Cabaret and The Public Dancehall. You can also have fun in church, but it usually involves substituting Def Leppard lyrics when you sing "Rock of Ages." Put simply, the Cabaret can sell liquor and the Dancehall can't. Yes, I agree. Church is starting to look better, isn't it?
Licenses are required for any club in town promising amusement. The only place that doesn't require a license is a 'social club,' run by anybody named Rocco. It's probably best not to ask why.
The licenses for clubs are issued by the City Clerk. It's never an easy process to obtain one. However, most city clerks are frustrated musicians. So, if you promise that when you open your club, they can sit in with the band and sing, "Oops I Did It Again," you'll have your license immediately. And if you allow the clerk to dress like Britney, you get cash back.
Your next step is to get the place inspected. It must pass muster with the Health, Police and Fire Departments. Ask the County Clerk to use his influence with these folks. If he refuses, tell him you have pictures of him dressed as Britney. You'll find those permits issued like gangbusters!
Now, in Rye Brook, if you want to put up a club, you'll need approval from The Architectural Board of Review. Don't be confused and think 'approval' is simply someone from the board smiling and saying, "Sounds outtasite!" The approval must be in writing. And this board member shouldn't use slang when doing so. Otherwise the head of the board will write back, "Why you trippin'?" And the whole thing will degenerate from there.
Your license is very much like your virginity. You can have it intact for years, but it just takes one stupid act to lose it, usually helped along by several Jagermeisters. If the Rye board finds anything "obscene or immoral" happening on your premises, they will shut you down. You may be tempted to tell the authorities that nightlife is nothing without something immoral or obscene happening. They will agree in principle. But they'll take your license anyway.
Finally, if your permit isn't granted by the Rye Brook Village Board, you are allowed to appeal. This term is also a bit confusing to many folks. Your appeal is done in writing, or by showing up at a board meeting. And remember, you can bat your eyes and shake your moneymaker at the board members all you want. But that's not the sort of 'appealing' they mean.
Dressing up like Britney and singing "Oops I Did It Again?" I can tell you one more thing: it's always worked for me.
Peter Gerstenzang is a freelance videographer and entertainment and humor writer based in Rye. His humor column, Cracking the Code, a comic spin on the City of Rye and Village of Rye Brook's codes, will appear every other week on Rye Patch. Check out Peter's other Rye Patch columns, Happys Mondays, about life with his golden retriever, and Wry Observations about Rye, a column about living in the Rye area.