“Office of Nightlife” taskforce run by a “Night Mayor” may lend a hand to NY’s DIY scene


Aviv, credit Brooklyn Magazine

We’re all tired of lamenting the closures of our favorite DIY venues. Shea Stadium. Aviv. Don Pedro. DBA. And the list goes on.

Thankfully, Bushwick’s cool councildude Rafael Espinal is working to create a task force to help DIY spaces and smaller venues thrive:

The bill introduced Thursday by City Councilman Rafael Espinal would create a volunteer task force to identify problems in the bar and concert venue business and an Office of Nightlife run by a “Night Mayor” that would field concerns about venues, permitting issues and begin to implement recommendations made by the task force.

“New York City nightlife we know is one of the most iconic … in the world. And over the years there has been a crackdown on a lot of venues especially in Brooklyn because of onerous regulations, because the rise of real estate prices,” Espinal said.

Part of the legislation’s aim would be to help bring venues operating without permits up to code by helping them streamline the process with city agencies, Espinal said.

“These venues do want to be up to code and do want to be operating safe spaces. Navigating city bureaucracies makes it nearly impossible or them to afford all the legal, architectural fees,” he said. “The office of nightlife would also help them navigate all that red tape and bureaucracy and give them a system to come up to code.” [..] Espinal said that the task force would study issues in the permitting process and with other concerns over a year and then make recommendations to the Office of Nightlife.

“It’s important the city recognizes the contributions that the nightlife industry provides for this city,” Espinal said, adding that it’s a $10 billion industry that’s often portrayed as a nuisance instead of an important part of “what makes New York City so great.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio is also introducing legislation called “New York Works.” The initiative’s primary goal is to bolster tech jobs in the city, but it would also lend a hand to struggling DIY venues by creating a so-called “nightlife ambassador.” DNA has more:

The initiative will also create 20,000 jobs in the industrial and manufacturing fields as well as 15,000 jobs in the life sciences and health care industries, the mayor said.

Among the quirky jobs the city will add is a nightlife ambassador — which he said cities like London have used successfully to reduce noise complaints.

“It’s someone who is a liaison to the nightlife community,” Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin said. “We want to have an office that is going to work with the various music venues, with the nightclubs, with bars and restaurants.”

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