New York City has always been proud of its reputation for being the city that doesn’t sleep. But for residents who live in neighborhoods centered around that vibrant nightlife, it’s become a point of consternation. Throbbing bass lines, drunken revelers and errant piles of vomit have become increasingly frequent in enclaves like the Lower East Side and Williamsburg.
This is just one of the issues that New York City’s recently appointed nightlife mayor, Ariel Palitz, will address as part of her new role – the first of its kind in the city’s history. Palitz, whose official title is Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife, will conduct a series of listening sessions to provide both residents and venue owners with forum to discuss the issues that affect them.
Mediation aside, Palitz’s role is also intended to nurture the businesses that are part of the city’s nightlife. “NYC’s nightlife culture is an integral part of its identity,” said Brooklyn city councilor Rafael Espinal. “Yet bureaucratic red tape, rising rents and lack of community planning has made it increasingly difficult for venues that contribute to our iconic nightlife to stay in business.”
In a profile in the New York Times, Espinal expressed hope that Palitz would expand her focus from traditional nightlife hubs in Manhattan, to more nascent but thriving ones in Brooklyn and Queens. Palitz – a lifelong New Yorker and self-professed night owl – told the Times that while she has seen the city change significantly, its evening entertainment is still an inherent part of its character. “You can’t crush culture – or subculture – in New York,” she said. “It just goes deeper and longer. New York culture and nightlife still thrive in a very real way. It’s just going to find its new place.”
New York is just one of an increasing number of cities across the world are making nightlife part of their government focus – Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Toulouse and Zurich have all appointed posts similar to the role Palitz has taken on.
Words: Mikki Brammer