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Armory reaches deal on dance parties

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Albany/HV: Armory reaches deal on dance parties
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The show will go on at the Washington Avenue Armory. Leaders there struck a deal with the city to resume hosting dance parties provided they adhere to strict safety guidelines. But how long will the party last? YNN's Solomon Syed reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Music, dancing and foam: The ingredients for what the Washington Avenue Armory calls a concert.

"People come here for one reason and that's to see the acts and enjoy the music," said Armory spokesman Michael Cors.

It's important distinction, if the Armory plans to keep hosting DJ shows that attract thousands, but have also caused big headaches for the city.

"We have decided to reach an agreement so that the city can put parameters on the operation of the Armory," said Albany Buildings and Regulatory Compliance Director Jeffery Jamison.

The strict guidelines include a midnight curfew during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekends.

The dance floor will be limited to 2,100 people, with a city-approved security team on patrol. Alcohol will also be confined to a small section of the arena. However, some say the problem with party-goers extends beyond the gate.

"Vandalism, petty crimes, loud noise," said Richard Conti, common councilor for the city's 6th ward.

"The Armory stepped up and said let's fix this, let's enhance downtown and not damage it," said Corts.

The question the city wants an answer to: Is the Armory a concert hall, or just one big giant night club?

"It may be that what's happening now is permitted, but there's a line and that may push it," said Jamison.

The Armory still has to appear before the board of zoning appeals and prove the dance parties qualify as concerts. Otherwise, Friday's "Masquerave" will be the venue's first dance party since the October melee that injured three police officers, and its last.

"With sounds and lights and stages and rigors and people coming in and loading in, it's absolutely a concert event," said Corts.

The zoning hearing will take place sometime in January and will be open to the public.

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