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New York City Council overwhelmingly passes Espinal’s Office of Nightlife bill

August 25, 2017 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The New York City Council passed Councilmember Rafael Espinal’s Office of Nightlife bill on Thursday. Mayor Bill de Blasio now has 30 days to sign the bill into law. Even if he chooses not to sign it in that month, it will still become a law 120 days after that period. Photo by Tiffany Rexach
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As expected, the New York City Council approved Councilmember Rafael Espinal’s bill to implement an Office of Nightlife, nightlife director and Nightlife Advisory Board on Thursday.

“NYC’s nightlife culture is an integral part of its identity, yet bureaucratic red tape, rising rents and lack of community planning has made it increasingly difficult for venues that contribute to our iconic nightlife to stay in business,” said Espinal.

“This bill will create a space where all stakeholders can come together to solve conflicts and build bridges.”

In June, Espinal officially introduced the bill at a Consumer Affairs Committee hearing. Several panels spoke at the gathering and fielded questions from Espinal.

More than 200 people from artists and musicians, to business owners and labor unions attended the meeting.

Following the assembly, Espinal incorporated feedback that he heard and altered the bill accordingly.

Following the Council’s decision, Mayor Bill de Blasio now has 30 days to sign the bill into law. Even if he chooses not to sign it in that month, it will still become a law 120 days after that period.

The director of nightlife’s responsibilities will include regulating the nightlife industry, helping DIY venues stay open and creating a safer partying environment.

The director will be responsible for conducting outreach to nightlife establishments, acting as a liaison for those venues, referring those organizations to city services, reviewing 311 complaints and holding at least one public hearing in each borough, among other duties.

The bill will also establish a Nightlife Advisory Board that will be comprised of 12 members: Four to be appointed by the mayor and eight by the speaker of the council to serve for a two-year term.

“From local communities who deserve a decent quality of life, to businesses who are trying to do the right thing but are struggling to navigate government processes and are subject to hefty fines, this office and advisory board will be there,” said Espinal.

“It is time NYC dedicate resources to this sector of our economy that produces not only financial capital, but also cultural capital for our city.”

In April, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosted an event at Brooklyn Bowl that released the results of a report studying the economic impact of music in New York City.

The study revealed that the music industry supports roughly 60,000 jobs, accounts for $5 billion in wages and creates $21 billion in total economic output for the city.

In 2015, New York’s concert tickets accounted for $5.4 million, which was more than Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago combined.

Amsterdam was one of the first cities to implement an office of nightlife and to create a “night mayor.”

Mirik Milan, the night mayor, or “nachtburgemeester,” of Amsterdam, came to speak to Brooklyn’s club owners and nightlife professionals on May 6 at the Williamsburg club Output.

Milan, who has held the position since 2012, has played a leading role in the introduction of 24-hour licenses for venues in the Dutch capital. After creating an office of nightlife in Amsterdam, the city has seen a 25 percent reduction in crime and a 28 percent decrease in noise complaints.

Milan also organized the first-ever Night Mayor Summit in April 2016.

Night mayors from Paris, Toulouse and Zurich attended, and speakers from Berlin, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, Mumbai and San Francisco were present at the conference.


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