Last night, several hundred people from the Bushwick community came to see New York City’s first “night mayor” and share with her what they hoped to see happen through the new position.
Ariel Palitz, the newly appointed “night mayor,” met members of the public, arts organizations, and local government last night at Secret Project Robot. The DIY space in Bushwick seemed a fitting place for the informal gathering, as the closure of such spaces across the city ranks among the top issues that the new position hopes to address.
Palitz, who owned a night club in the East Village for 10 years and worked on a community board for six, said she sympathized with nightlife venue owners and the issues they face.
“I understand, I live it, I breath it and I am here to really work with you from this moment forward to do what we can to preserve, protect, enliven and make sure it’s safe, make sure we’re good neighbors, make sure we’re legal, make sure we’re all playing by the rules,” Palitz told the crowd.
Bushwick Council Member Raphael Espinal, who initiated the legislation that eventually led to the “night mayor” position, formally introduced Palitz. Before he did, Espinal spoke about growing up in Bushwick, the crumbling city infrastructure, and the lack of services in the neighborhood. He explained that his goal in establishing the Office of Nightlife (as it’s officially known) was to make sure that DIY spaces, such as Secret Project Robot, would continue to thrive and get the support they need.
“The government has not been a friend for a very long time; now by creating this office, we are making sure that they are,” Espinal said. “And I hope [the night mayor] sees the energy in this room, sees the importance that this scene has for everyone…we are going to make sure that we do everything we can because we have seen a lot of our favorite places close over the past 10 years.”
Palitz assured the crowd that at this stage, her “door is really open” and that she wants to hear from everyone in the nightlife community.
“I just want to listen more than really share any thoughts or ideas. Because right now, even though I have word many hats, it’s really a new world, new ears, new eyes,” Palitz said. “I want to hear all of this as if I’m hearing it for the first time.”
“And then we can find the common ground we need so we can find the solution we’ve all been waiting for. So let’s do this!”