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New York elects its first Nightlife Mayor, Ariel Palitz

“You can’t crush culture — or subculture — in New York”

Former club owner Ariel Palitz has been named the first Nightlife Mayor of New York.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Palitz, who used to manage what was dubbed as Manhattan’s “noisiest bar”, the Sutra nightclub, had been chosen for the role of Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. 

This news comes after it was announced in August 2017 that New York City government would create a nightlife office and nightlife task force. As stated last year, the nightlife mayor’s main role will be to act as a go-between for the council and those who work in the nighttime economy in the city.

In an official statement, Palitz said, "I am honored to be chosen to lead New York City’s first Office of Nightlife. As a native New Yorker, former nightclub owner and community board member, I understand what is at stake and the challenges ahead. This Office presents an opportunity to support the small business owners, workers, artists, and all New Yorkers who make up our diverse nightlife culture. It is also an opportunity to build bridges with neighbors and address quality of life concerns.  I intend to listen to all voices, identify problems, find common ground, and implement realistic solutions. The Office of Nightlife will be a place for operators, employees, creators, patrons, and residents alike. New Yorkers will no longer have to yearn for the good old days. With the Office of Nightlife, the best is yet to come."

In a new interview with the New York Times, Palitz discussed her intention to mend rifts that exist in the nightlife sector between those who complain about issues from noise to vomit on the streets and the partygoers determined to keep the city’s scene as vibrant as possible.

“Both sides feel unheard,” she said in that interview. “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.”

With years of experience in the industry, she will also be working with a 12-person advisory board, a $300,000 budget and a salary of $130,000 a year in order to keep night life in the city as strong as it can be. She said, “You can’t crush culture — or subculture — in New York”.

In that same New York Times article, Brooklyn city council person Rafael Espinal spoke of the importance of Palitz's paying close attention to the importance of underground clubbing communities in the borough, saying, “that’s the scene that has set the trend for years and has made things in the city so interesting.”

Ariel Palitz takes on the new role at an interesting time for New York nightlife, where new clubs like Public Arts are opening and legendary landmarks of early clubbing days in the city are being demolished.