Last summer, in an effort to improve government relations with the nightlife community, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the formation of an Office of Nightlife. The concept takes a cue from other cities around the world who have appointed or are considering similar “night mayors,” such as London and Amsterdam.
While the city has been taking steps already to help make New York more nightlife friendly, they have finally installed someone in the position of “nightlife mayor” permanently.
Ariel Palitz will be leading New York’s Office of Nightlife and will be overseeing all its efforts. She is a former member of Community Board 3 in Manhattan, which includes nightlife hubs like the East Village and the Lower East Side, and has experience in the nightlife industry.
Some of her first goals are to try and smooth over some of the simmering conflicts between the nightlife industry and city residents through conflict mediation. Some of the issues include day-to-day things like vomit on their streets or noise at 3 AM, and some are larger like encroaching gentrification on neighborhoods and nightlife’s role on both sides, in gentrifying and being pushed out by gentrification. Palitz plans on holding a listening tour in the coming months to more fully understand the issues.
“Both sides feel unheard,” she told The New York Times. “Both sides feel that things are unfair. I think the grievances are almost the same but there haven’t been any practical real-world solutions to address them.”
One of the city council members most involved in nightlife issues is Councilman Rafael Espinal, whose Brooklyn district includes the rapidly growing Bushwick.
He cited some concerns about Palitz’s Manhattan roots when many nightlife venues are moving to Brooklyn and Queens but was still optimistic.
“I would love it if she were sensitive to the D.I.Y. underground in Brooklyn too,” Espinal told the Times. “That’s the scene that has set the trend for years and has made things in the city so interesting.”
Palitz has a great opportunity here to improve relations with the nightlife industry and make it better and safer for everybody. And if she can prevent some of the Sunday morning vomit you find on your stoop, all the better.