New York City councilman Rafael Espinal is in the process of trying to create an official Office of Nightlife for the city, reports Gothamist. Per his plans, a "night mayor" would oversee the governmental organization, and they would serve as an intermediary between the nightlife industry and city government, as well as advocate for independent art spaces.
"I want to make sure that we're not a city where artists' ability to express themselves is hindered by bureaucracy," Espinal told the local publication. "We've gotten to the point where the only venues who are able to survive in this city are the high end nightclubs in the Meatpacking district, or places with similar business models."
Espinal—who is in the process of drafting legislation to create the office—represents parts of Brooklyn including Bushwick, East New York, Brownsville and Cypress Hills. He pointed to the recent closure of beloved Williamsburg venue Shea Stadium as evidence that a night mayor was needed in the city.
"My main motivation to push for this office is to make sure that the DIY venues and the smaller venues that actually provide a hub for artists and musicians to come together and express their art are able to survive," said Espinal.
The councilman told Gothamist that he thinks the bill will get its first hearing this year; once that happens, the next step will be to start deciding on more concrete details about the office and the night mayor position. He has also submitted a request to draft a bill repealing NYC's archaic Cabaret Law, also known as the "no dancing" law.
Amsterdam pioneered this position when they created the nachtburgemeester in 2014, and it has since spread across Europe; Amy Lamé was announced as London's first-ever Night Czar in November of last year.
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