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NYC’s first ‘night mayor’ promises to focus on quality of life issues

The new head of the Office of Nightlife will engage in “listening tours” with neighborhood residents

Baby’s All Right, a nightclub in Williamsburg.
Scott Beale/Laughing Squid

New Yorkers, meet your new nightlife mayor: In an interview with the New York Times, longtime East Village resident (and former Community Board 3 member) Ariel Palitz was revealed as the new head of the city’s Office of Nightlife, which was created last summer in an effort to put a liaison between the city and stakeholders in the nightlife industry.

But Palitz’s role will also include talking to city denizens who feel that their neighborhoods are overrun with clubs and bars—and the party-hearty New Yorkers they attract. One that immediately comes to mind is the Lower East Side, which a recent study found has the highest density of on-premise liquor licenses throughout the five boroughs. Palitz plans to engage in “listening tours” to hear what residents of those area have to say.

“Both sides feel that things are unfair,” she told the Times. “I think the grievances are almost the same but there haven’t been any practical real-world solutions to address them.”

Palitz will oversee a 12-member board, and other duties may include promoting the city’s nightlife industry, and working with venues to figure out ways to ensure their survival.

City Council member Rafael Espinal, who sponsored the bill in support of the Office of Nightlife, hopes she’ll focus on the latter—particularly in neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick, where the DIY clubs that gave those neighborhoods their cool cachet have closed at an alarming rate.

“That’s the scene that has set the trend for years and has made things in the city so interesting,” Espinal told the Times.