New York City has got its first “night mayor.”
City hall announced on Wednesday that Ariel Palitz, who owned the now-closed Sutra nightclub in the East Village, will be the first-ever senior executive director of the Office of Nightlife.
Bushwick Council Member Rafael Espinal, a longtime supporter of local nightlife and DIY venues, sponsored the legislation which passed city council in August and Mayor de Blasio signed into law in September. Espinal envisioned that the new office would help “bring nightlife out of the bureaucratic shadows” and deal with issues within local communities.
The law created a $130,000-a-year position known colloquially as “night mayor.” In October, influential figures in the nightlife industry met to hash out the role of the new office; however, until this announcement, little was known about the potential candidates for the position. In November, Bushwick Daily interviewed Lady Gaga’s former DJ who was going for the job. Clearly he didn’t make the cut.
Palitz, who reportedly owned one of the noisiest clubs in the city, will now oversee a 12-person advisory board and a $300,000 annual budget. The Office of Nightlife will be housed under the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and will be under the oversight of the Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs, which is chaired by Espinal.
“It is exciting to learn that NYC’s first Nightlife Mayor is a female with a strong background in nightlife and community advocacy,” said Espinal in a statement.
“I believe the nightlife community will have a well-rounded voice in Ariel Palitz and the administration will have a unique perspective on nightlife issues. There is a lot of work to do and I look forward to working with Ariel as I continue advocating for the independent venues and DIY community that desperately needs the city’s support to come out of the bureaucratic shadows.”
Cover image courtesy of Raphael Schaller