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Mayor Adams Appoints Jeffrey Garcia as Office of Nightlife Executive Director, Signs Bills to Bolster Nightlife Industry

November 17, 2023

Legislation and Executive Order Establish Moves Office of Nightlife Under Department of Small Business Services to Better Connect Nightlife Establishments to Business Resources

Legislation Codifies Reforms in Mayor Adams' "Small Business Forward" to Reduce Financial Burdens on Local Businesses

Part of Mayor Adams' "Working People's Tour," After City Recovered All of Nearly One Million Jobs Lost During Pandemic

New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of hospitality industry veteran Jeffrey Garcia to lead the Office of Nightlife (ONL) in its new home at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Joined by SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim and business leaders, Mayor Adams also announced actions to support small businesses through his "Small Business Forward" initiative, better connect nightlife establishments to SBS resources, and reduce financial burdens on local businesses. These steps come as part of Mayor Adams' "Working People's Tour," continuing to create jobs and power New York City's economic recovery after the city set an recovered all of the nearly 1 million jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Mayor Adams signed three pieces of legislation – Intro 687-A, Intro. 845-A, and Intro. 1083-A that implement dozens of regulatory reforms to help New York City's small businesses, move ONL under SBS, and provide New Yorkers with more information to make healthy food choices.

"From the dance venues of Brooklyn to the Latin clubs of Queens and everything in between, nightlife has always been part of what makes New York City so vibrant and unique. Today, we are taking steps not only to bolster the businesses that make nightlife special, but also to usher in a new chapter in our efforts to support the industry," said Mayor Adams. "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. 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."

"This administration is focused on making it easier for this city's small businesses to grow and thrive, and the bills passed today exemplify that. With the passage of Intro. 845, we have now cleared the path for over 100 reforms to be implemented that will reduce fines and fees for this city's small business community, saving them millions of dollars a year. And with the move of the Office of Nightlife to SBS under Jeffrey Garcia's leadership, the city's nightlife community will have a fierce advocate in their corner and access to more resources than ever before," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria-Torres Springer. "Thank you to the Council for the partnership, and congratulations to Executive Director Jeffrey Garcia. I am confident that under his leadership ONL will flourish in its mission of elevating the city's nightlife and businesses in every neighborhood across the entire city at a critical time for the industry."

“Since Day One, this Administration has been crystal clear that we are here to uplift small businesses — and by reducing regulatory burdens through Small Business Forward and strengthening our programming for night life businesses, we are getting that done," said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “At SBS, ONL will be able to help bars and restaurants across NYC grow and expand while also fostering positive relationships in their respective communities. All of us at SBS are excited to work with Executive Director Jeffrey Garcia and his team in our shared mission of lifting up New Yorkers and building the City of Yes for small business.” 

"As the son of a single mom from the Dominican Republic, born and raised in Washington Heights, I am grateful to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim for entrusting me with this opportunity to serve my city as executive director of ONL. This is my dream job," said ONL Executive Director Garcia. "My family knew struggle, but we had a strong foundation of hard work and service, which I brought with me as I rose through the ranks at the NYPD, opened my own hospitality businesses, and went on to elevate minority-owned bars and restaurants across New York as an advocacy leader. I am looking forward to this transition to SBS, as ONL grows to provide more resources to support the nightlife industry across New York City."

"Today signifies a major milestone as we advance two bills with a clear mission: cutting red tape and streamlining regulations for small businesses through codifying portions of the mayor's 'Small Business Forward' executive order and providing crucial assistance to our nightlife establishments," said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin, chair, Committee on Small Business. "As the former MOME commissioner who created the Office of Nightlife, I believe it is a logical shift of the Office of Nightlife to the Department of Small Business Services for enhanced small business support. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for signing my bills into law."

Intro. 687-A – sponsored by New York City Councilmember Keith Powers – requires chain restaurants with 15 or more locations to prominently post added sugars to menus, allowing New Yorkers to make informed decisions about their health. The new law builds on the Mayor's Office of Food Policy's work to increase food security; promote access to and consumption of healthy foods; and support economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and equity in the food system.

Intro. 845-A – sponsored by New York City Councilmember Menin – implements more than 30 regulatory reforms that stem from Mayor Adams' Executive Order 2 "Small Business Forward" initiative, which required city agencies to review existing business regulations and ensure local businesses face fewer fines and penalties without jeopardizing public health or safety. These reforms were identified by Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, and SBS Commissioner Kim to save small businesses time and money when navigating city regulations.

Intro. 1083-A – also sponsored by New York City Councilmember Menin – and Executive Order 37 will integrate ONL under SBS. ONL's move to SBS will help broaden the office's reach and deepen its impact on New York City nightlife businesses, while doubling down on promoting public safety and addressing quality-of-life concerns. The move will also foster a strong industry partnership between nightlife and city government, ensuring that more nightlife businesses directly benefit from SBS services, such as connections to affordable financing, free legal assistance, a pipeline of qualified New Yorkers looking for work, and the NYC Business Express Service Team program, which helps businesses expedite permits and licenses, accelerating the process of opening a business, and more.

Small business creation has boomed since Mayor Adams took office, with approximately one in seven businesses in New York City launched since January 2022. In that time, the Adams administration has delivered on the promise of Small Business Forward, developed the MyCity Business site, created the historic NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, and undertaken additional efforts to save small businesses millions of dollars in avoided violations, fines, and fees. In addition to dozens of reforms implemented over the last year through agency rulemaking and policy changes, the full savings to small businesses is estimated at close to $8.9 million annually.

About Jeffrey Garcia

Jeffrey Garcia has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Washington Heights and Kingsbridge for decades. A retired New York City Police Department (NYPD) first grade detective of the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Garcia previously served as president of the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar, and Lounge Association, working to bring equity and inclusion to the industry and working through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also served on the New York City Small Business Advisory Council. As an accomplished entrepreneur, Garcia has additionally served as a board member at the New York City Hospitality Alliance and helped found the Latino Cannabis Association.

"I am so proud that the important work of the Office of Nightlife is continuing under new leadership with Jeffrey Garcia," said ONL Founding Director Ariel Palitz. "His love for our city, experience in representing this industry and commitment to serving the community are exactly what is needed to ensure that there is always someone there to protect and care for our essential NYC nightlife."

"Today's announcements show how Mayor Adams and his administration are champions for small businesses in Brooklyn," said Randy Peers, president, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. "We are proud to stand with the mayor in his efforts to make New York the 'City of Yes' and these pieces of legislation build on that important initiative aimed at cutting red tape. Small businesses are the lifeblood of Brooklyn and key to the continued economic growth of New York City. The Chamber also looks forward to working with Jeffrey Garcia as he leads the Office of Nightlife, another critical component of business development in Brooklyn."

"By reducing fines and eliminating onerous, outdated regulations, the Small Business Forward initiative will allow our small business owners to focus on doing what they do best – creating jobs and serving our communities," said Tom Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. "We are proud to be here today with Mayor Eric Adams, Council Member Julie Menin and SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim, and thank them for providing much needed relief to our small businesses."

“Jeffrey Garcia is a born and bred New Yorker who has spent his career dedicated to public service, in and out of government, supporting the people and small businesses that make New York the greatest city in the world,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director and chairperson, New York City Hospitality Alliance. “I have no doubt he will bring his experience, expertise, and commitment to serve New York into the position of executive director of the city’s Office of Nightlife while continuing and expanding upon the office’s essential work. I commend Mayor Adams’ selection of Jeffrey Garcia for this position, along with his enactment of two important bills sponsored and championed by Council Member Julie Menin. The first will move the Office of Nightlife to the Department of Small Business Services where it will have the agencies extensive resources and support at the ready, and the second will reduce unnecessary fines on small businesses and instead focus on education, correction, and compliance first. It’s a good day for nightlife and small business.”

"We congratulate Jeffrey García, our former president, on his appointment as executive director of the Office of Nightlife. Jeffrey's tireless advocacy for our industry and members put the Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association on the map, and during his leadership, he took the organization from a small group of restaurant owners eager to see change to an association that

boasts hundreds of members with a statewide presence known in all corners of government," said Sandra Jaquez, president, New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association. "No one is more qualified to lead the Office of Nightlife along with Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim. We look forward to continuing our work with Jeffrey in his new capacity uplifting the hospitality and nightlife industry. It is a very proud moment for the Association and for the City of New York."

"New York City's vibrant nightlife inspires the world, and it supports 300,000 cultural professionals. The Nightlife United team congratulates executive director Jeffrey Garcia on his appointment as we look to continue our advocacy and resource work with the Office of Nightlife," said Varghese Chacko, founding partner and president, Nightlife United. "This recent era is a generational opportunity to nurture inclusive local businesses and independent workers. We are eager to support and advise ONL on their impactful initiatives. Nightlife is New York City's creative hub and, alongside executive director Garcia and the ONL & SBS staff, Nightlife United is excited to help guide our industry into a prosperous future for all residents."

"Congratulations to Jeff Garcia on becoming the new executive director of the Office of Nightlife," said Bertha Lewis, founder and president, The Black Institute. "The Black Institute looks forward to working with Jeff to amplify the need for transparency, accountability, and a reevaluation of current enforcement strategies that disproportionately target minority-owned businesses and spaces important for marginalized communities, as found in our report 'Same Old Song and Dance'."

"BABAR (Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants) is a coalition of nearly 1,000 bars, restaurants, and other nightlife small businesses throughout Brooklyn, united in helping develop our community and our establishments," said Dhruv Chopra, co-founder and CEO, Elsewhere, and member, BABAR. "The Office of Nightlife has been instrumental in improving relations between nightlife and all city municipalities, thereby helping champion a safer, more inclusive, and more diverse cultural environment for all New Yorkers. Without our vibrant nightlife and without successful small businesses, New York wouldn't be what it is. On behalf of BABAR, we are confident that Jeffrey Garcia will thrive in his role as the new director, helping further the founding mission of the ONL, and championing the rich cultural fabric of our city."

"New York City's nightlife is seeing a resurgence since the pandemic and we can attribute that to the role and successes of the Mayor's Office of Nightlife," said Rafael Espinal, president, Freelancers Union. "As the city continues to move forward, there's no better time to bring a new perspective to the office. Jeff Garcia's history and background will bring a fresh and diverse voice that will continue building on the amazing wins of the office. I look forward to seeing the work under his leadership."

"I extend heartfelt congratulations to Jeffrey Garcia on his well-deserved appointment as the executive director of the New York City Office of Nightlife," said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO and co-founder, Urban Upbound. "As a longstanding advocate for Latino hospitality businesses, Jeffrey's expertise and unwavering empathy make him the ideal candidate to uplift marginalized communities. I firmly believe that Jeffrey's approach will bring much-needed equity to the critical nightlife industry, reaching every corner of New York City. Urban Upbound proudly supports Jeffrey Garcia in his new role and looks forward to witnessing the positive impact he will make in fostering a more inclusive and thriving nightlife scene for all."

"New York Independent Venue Association (NYIVA) is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Office of Nightlife and the new executive director to configure the work of finding the path to create support and visibility for the needs of the live performing arts industry in New York City," said Jen Lyon, board president, NYIVA.

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