NY Daily News reports that club kids, barflies and punk rockers, it’s time to brush off your resumes and start working for the man.
Mayor de Blasio wants to hire a “nightlife ambassador” as part of the jobs plan he announced Thursday, to serve as a liaison between city government and local music spots and clubs.
“We want to have an office that’s really going to work with the various music venues, with the nightclubs, with bars and restaurants and also take into account the community perspective,” Julie Menin, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, said.
The idea for the new gig comes from the “night mayor” concept used in London and Amsterdam — “only the coolest,” de Blasio noted in listing the cities.
Earlier this year, Menin’s office put out a study that found jobs and wages in the city’s music industry were growing faster than the city average.
“This is an area of tremendous growth for New York,” she said.
But for the live music fans who have mourned the loss of small music venues — especially “DIY” or do-it-yourself venues sometimes hit with city fines — it may feel more like the industry is shrinking. According to Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett, that’s not just hipster nostalgia talking: Another study from Menin’s office had found a 20% decline in smaller music venues over the last 15 years.
“We believe for the vibrancy of the music scene in New York City, for the success of artists here in New York City, there have to be smaller music venues available for them to perform,” Patchett said. “So preserving that industry and to continue to grow it is essential to this.”
But whoever takes on the job won’t just be cheerleading for Baby’s All Right and The Bell House — they’ll also have to balance community concerns about things like noise, Menin said.
“In these cities that employ this approach, they’ve actually been able to reduce noise complaints and other community complaints and actually grow the industry at the same time,” Menin said. “So we don’t think these approaches are mutually exclusive.”
Meanwhile, City Councilman Rafael Espinal (R-Brooklyn) introduced legislation Thursday to roll out his own version proposal for a Office of Nightlife and a Nightlife Task Force — something his office has been working on independently from the mayor’s job plan for the last year.
“New York City’s nightlife industry is not only a jobs creator, it’s part of the cultural fabric of our city, providing spaces for socialization, culture and free expression,” he said in a statement. “Yet, for so long the nightlife industry has not had anyone advocating on its behalf.”
The councilman will hold a hearing on the nightlife industry, the legislation and the city’s existing cabaret law on Monday.