New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Member Rafael Espinal have announced the appointment of Ariel Palitz as its first Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife, also known as the city's Nightlife Mayor. The former owner of the now-closed Sutra nightclub will serve as a liaison between the city, its night venues and the community, some of whom have voiced issues with noise and other disturbances that surround some nightlife spots.
"Both sides feel unheard," Palitz 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 her first actions to help understand and resolve these conflicts will be to hold several listening tours and hear out complaints.
Last year, Espinal sponsored legislation that proposed the institution of an Office of the Nightlife Mayor. The concept is based on a model first launched in Amsterdam in 2014. Night Mayor positions have since been created in other cities, including Paris and Toulouse, France, and Zurich, Switzerland.
"It is exciting to learn that NYC's first Nightlife Mayor is a female with a strong background in nightlife and community advocacy," NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal, Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Contracts, said in a statement. "I believe the nightlife community will have a well-rounded voice in Ariel Palitz and the administration will have a unique perspective on nightlife issues. There is a lot of work to do and I look forward to working with Ariel as I continue advocating for the independent venues and DIY community that desperately needs the city's support to come out of the bureaucratic shadows.”
For years, those in the DIY nightlife community have rallied for a nightlife liaison and a repeal of the Cabaret Law, which prohibited dancing in bars, restaurants and clubs without cabaret licenses. Mayor de Blasio signed the legislation to appoint a New York Night Mayor into law last September and the Cabaret Law was repealed the following month.