New York City is establishing a nightlife office and Nighttime Ambassador as part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The news came as part of the Mayor’s larger “New York Works” ten-year economic initiative announced today.
The as-yet-named Nighttime Ambassador, according to the announcement, will act as an advocate for the music and nightlife industry and serve as a “central point of coordination between venues, local authorities and communities. The Ambassador will also provide “support with licensing and permits” and may eventually “provide financial support for legal services, architectural services, and safety improvements.” An advisory board made up of nightlife stakeholders will be convened to support the Ambassador.
“I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has announced the creation of a new function within our agency, a nightlife office the City’s first Nighttime Ambassador,” said NYC Media and Entertainment commissioner Julie Menin in a statement. “New York City nightlife is second to none and is a major reason why people around the world flock here to live and visit. It is also a vital part of the city’s economy generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic output. Yet in recent years, over 20 percent of small music venues in the city have closed. Our office aims to work with various stakeholders to both support the industry and ensure that community concerns are being addressed.”
They Mayor’s office cited several specific nighttime economic statistics including the existence of some 26,000 eating and drinking establishments across the five boroughs, 300,000 nightlife employees and a total of $10 billion contributed to the New York’s economy.
The inclusion of music as part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment began in February 2016 when Commissioner Menin was appointed to lead the Office of Media and Entertainment which was formerly the Film & TV commission. Her appointment coincided with the addition of music, advertising, publishing and digital content to the new office’s purview (theater was already included in the Film & TV Commission).
Since music’s inclusion, the Office of Media and Entertainment has commissioned a music economic impact study, helped bring the Grammys back to New York for 2018 and this month launched the first-ever New York Music Month founded in partnership with industry coalition New York Is Music, founded by Downtown Music Publishing CEO Justin Kalifowitz.
The establishment of a New York nightlife office and Nightime Ambassador marks something of a sea change for the city. Past administrations, especially the Giuliani Administration (f1994-2001), seemed to work in opposition to nightlife with its notorious Nightlife Task Force which would shutter clubs for obscure infractions using the city’s antiquated cabaret laws requiring permits for dancing to close down venues. These actions helped galvanize New York’s nightlife industries which began promoting the economic, cultural and social value of a robust nightlife. The new office and this ambassadorship would seem the realization of that initiative .
The announcement also noted that other international cultural capital such as London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin all have offices dedicated to nightlife. Subsequently, all these cites have seen reductions in noise complaints and an increase in economic development—two goals most New Yorkers can agree upon.