New York City has appointed a new nightlife mayor, Jeffrey Garcia. The move comes after the exit of Ariel Palitz, the first person to hold the title, earlier this year.
Garcia will officially serve as the executive director of the Office of Nightlife (ONL) as appointed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has moved the department from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment to the Department of Small Business Services in order to make the bureaucratic processes more efficient and allow Garcia more power in supporting the city's nightlife businesses.
"By transferring the Office of Nightlife to SBS and cutting red tape for the nightlife industry, this legislation will make sure that nightlife establishments get the resources they need to thrive and help our economy grow to new heights", Mayor Adams said in a press statement. "With the appointment of Jeffrey Garcia — an experienced entrepreneur and hospitality veteran who has long advocated for minority-owned businesses — we are also ensuring that the Office of Nightlife has the strong leadership needed to uplift nightlife businesses across the city."
A retired detective in the NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau, Garcia is more recently the owner of a cafe and a bar Kingsbridge and a pizzeria in Washington Heights. He has served as the president of New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association and on the New York City Hospitality Alliance board. He also co-founded the Latino Cannabis Association in 2022. He intends to put his hospitality background to good use in widening New York City's nightlife centre outside of the well-trodden central Manhattan and Brooklyn hotspots.
“One of my main priorities coming in here is, how do we get folks to visit these wonderful businesses now in the South Bronx, in the North Bronx?" Garcia said in an interview with Time Out New York. "How do we get them to go to Staten Island, to Brooklyn, to Queens? I think that is all about information, and putting these businesses out there, putting these neighborhoods out there, so that people can see there are wonderful places to visit all across the city. Not everything is, you know, in midtown Manhattan."
New York City created its first nightlife advisory board in 2018, trailing cities like Amsterdam and London in giving its nightlife businesses an advocate. Former club owner Ariel Palitz served as the executive director of the Office of Nightlife since its inception until 2023.