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Mayor de Blasio and City Council Appoint Members to the Nightlife Advisory Board

The 14-member body will advise the Mayor and the City Council on issues affecting the nightlife industry


NEW YORK — Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and Council Member Espinal today announced the appointment of the 14 members of the City's first-ever Nightlife Advisory Board. As a complement to the newly formed Office of Nightlife, the all-volunteer board is charged with making recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on ways to improve regulations and policies that impact nightlife establishments.

Ranging from DJs and hospitality advocates to regulatory attorneys, the appointees bring a variety of perspectives and expertise on New York City's celebrated nightlife.

"New York City's nightlife is second to none. It attracts visitors from around the world and is an economic engine across the five boroughs," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The new Nightlife Advisory Board reflects the diversity that makes our city and our nightlife great. Working together, we will ensure the industry continues to thrive."

"Native New Yorkers and tourists alike love the City for its exhilarating and vibrant nightlife culture, but businesses should not have to face bureaucratic obstacles when they are trying to give people what they want: a fun time out in the City that never sleeps. The establishment of the Nightlife Advisory Board gives stakeholders a voice and path to solutions, and I thank Council Member Rafael Espinal for his leadership and continued advocacy for the nightlife community," said Speaker Corey Johnson.

The Nightlife Advisory Board will issue formal recommendations to the Mayor and the Council that will address the regulatory structure of the nightlife industry; common complaints about nightlife establishments; public safety concerns related to nightlife; zoning, enforcement, nightlife workforce conditions and the integration of nightlife into the city's various neighborhoods. All members will serve two year terms.

"I am thrilled to welcome the members of the new Nightlife Advisory Board, which represents a cross-section of stakeholders in both the industry and communities affected by it," said Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. "Working together, I know we can help nightlife establishments comply with well-thought out regulations while ensuring that our communities maintain the kind of quality of life they deserve."

"I am very excited to work with the Nightlife Advisory Board, and look forward to the important and diverse insight they will bring," said Ariel Palitz, Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. "Along with the recent hiring of the full Office of Nightlife staff, the stage is set to accomplish the very significant work ahead."

"New York City's nightlife is so much more than entertainment, it is the pulse of our city, providing safe spaces for culture, free expression, economic activity and jobs," said Council Member Rafael Espinal. "Yet, for so long the nightlife industry has not had anyone advocating on its behalf, leaving too many businesses and residents left in the bureaucratic shadows. I am proud to have sponsored the legislation that created the City's landmark Office of Nightlife and Nightlife Advisory Board. I look forward to working with the board to continue supporting life at night."

The Nightlife Advisory Board was established by the same legislation that created the City's first Office of Nightlife. Sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, the bill was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in September 2017. In March 2018, Mayor de Blasio appointed Ariel Palitz as first Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. Housed at the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, the Office of Nightlife is designed to serve as a central point of contact between City agencies, the nightlife industry, and city residents. Its mission is to promote a safe and vibrant nightlife scene that benefits businesses, residents and those who work in the industry alike.

"I'm pleased that this new advisory council will have robust input from the perspective of our Community Boards, both in lower and upper Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Community Boards stand at the crossroads between the residents, businesses, regulators, and enforcement agencies trying to work through nightlife issues. This perspective is critical to the work of the Nightlife Advisory Board and the Office of Nightlife."

"New York City has historically had a vibrant nightlife that draws people from around the country and around the world to our five boroughs," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "The Nightlife Advisory Board is a great way for everyone to come to the table, as a community, find ways where we can continue to grow our nightlife commerce while not infringing on the residents who live in neighborhoods that have energetic night scenes, while protecting the rights of people working in the industry. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson for creating this board, so that we can address the needs of New Yorkers who work and thrive at night."

"Our vibrant and diverse nightlife is what makes us unique, and we must ensure that this crucial part of our city's identity continues to survive and thrive," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "I thank Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Council Member Espinal for their efforts to create a Nightlife Advisory Board with a variety of perspectives and skill-sets. As the eyes and ears of their communities, I look forward to working with these leaders on solutions that benefit residents, patrons and small business owners."

"I am excited to begin working with this diverse group of individuals who are being appointed to the Nightlife Advisory. They truly represent the unique character and passion that has made New York City's nightlife the envy of every other city in the world." said Council Member Carlina Rivera. "This broad swath of operators, artists, and civic leaders will ensure that our nightlife establishments continue to flourish and remain strong community partners in improving the industry."

"The nightlife industry and the musicians who perform in it each and every night are a vital part of New York City's cultural identity and economic vibrancy," said Tino Gagliardi, President, Local 802 AFM. "This Nightlife Advisory Board will provide expertise and guidance to help the Office of Nightlife ensure that the City implements policies that support live music and performers as well as address problems in the industry, including those relating to workforce conditions. Musicians have an advocate on the Board who is an accomplished performer who will provide insight into the challenges facing musicians who are performing to make a living, and I thank Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilmember Rafael Espinal, MOME Commissioner Julie Menin and Office of Nightlife Director Ariel Palitz for their leadership on behalf of hardworking musicians and our city's nightlife."

Mayoral Appointees

  • José Francisco Ávila, founder and managing member of Garufina Afro-Latina Entertainment, LLC. and Chairman of the Board of The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.
  • Kurtis Blow, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ and Chairman of the Universal Hip Hop Museum who has released 15 albums over the course of his career
  • DJ Tikka Masala composes and produces music for the Obie and Bessie award winning Brooklyn based feminist acrobatic dance company, LAVA, and is resident DJ at Henrietta Hudson
  • Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3, Manhattan, where she has served for the past 14 years
  • Luisa F. Torres, owner of Mojitos Restaurant Bar and community activist

City Council Appointees

  • Robert Bookman, regulatory and liquor licensing attorney, partner Pesetsky and Bookman
  • Marti Gould Cummings, drag artist, LGBTQ advocate
  • Alvester Garnett, drummer, percussionist, arts educator and advocate
  • Pedro Goico, representative at New York Supermarket Association
  • Olympia Kazi, architect, arts advocate and urban design critic. Member of the NYC Artists Coalition
  • Andrew Praschak, environmental attorney
  • Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance
  • David Rosen, Brooklyn and Queens bar operator and community organizer, co-founder of Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants (BABAR)
  • Susan Xenarios, director and founder, Crime Victims Treatment Center, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals