Today, Mayor de Blasio announced that Ariel Palitz, a lifelong New Yorker and nightlife professional, will be New York City’s first ever Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. Palitz comes to the role with deep experience in both nightlife and community building. She owned and operated Sutra, a successful nightclub on the Lower East Side, for ten years; served on Community Board 3 for over six years and has spent the past three years helping entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of opening nightlife establishments in NYC.
“Nightlife is part of the spark of our city. It’s one of the few spaces where all our diversity comes together in a single room. Ariel has lived and breathed this work her whole life. She understands the needs of live musicians, artists, business owners and residents, and she’ll help bring everybody together to foster the kind of vibrant and safe nightlife New Yorkers deserve,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead New York City’s first Office of Nightlife,” said Ariel Palitz. “As a native New Yorker, former nightclub owner and community board member, I understand what is at stake and the challenges ahead. This Office presents an opportunity to support the small business owners, workers, artists, and all New Yorkers who make up our diverse nightlife culture. It is also an opportunity to build bridges with neighbors and address quality of life concerns. I intend to listen to all voices, identify problems, find common ground, and implement realistic solutions. The Office of Nightlife will be a place for operators, employees, creators, patrons, and residents alike. New Yorkers will no longer have to yearn for the good old days. With the Office of Nightlife, the best is yet to come.”
The Office of Nightlife was established as a result of legislation sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal. The legislation passed the full council in August 2017 and was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in September. The office was initially proposed in Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works jobs plan will be housed at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. It is designed to serve as a central point of contact between City agencies, the nightlife industry, and city residents. It will promote a safe and vibrant nightlife scene that benefits businesses and residents alike.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ariel Palitz aboard to lead the City’s Office of Nightlife and add Nightlife to our office’s expanded portfolio” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “Ariel brings an understanding of the intricacies of the nightlife industry, and its relations with both the City and its diverse communities as both a small business owner and community board member. Under her stewardship, the Nightlife Office at MOME will work diligently to harness the creative entrepreneurial spirit that defines our city, and ensure that nightlife establishments are able to comply with the rules and regulations that keep all New Yorkers safe and communities healthy. We will work closely with communities and businesses across the city to make sure their needs are being heard and addressed.”
“As a lifelong New Yorker, Ariel is no stranger to the city’s ever evolving nightlife business and the challenges it may bring,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “With her vast experience in the community and business level, I have full confidence that, as Senior Executive Director, Ariel will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the city’s nightlife venues continue to thrive. The Council is proud to have established the Office of Nightlife and I look forward to working with Ariel Palitz in her new role.”
“It is exciting to learn that NYC’s first Nightlife Mayor is a female with a strong background in nightlife and community advocacy,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal, Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing. “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.”
“Not only does Ariel bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise from her years in the nightlife industry, she knows New York City and is keenly aware of the risks that many individuals, women in particular, unfairly face when it comes to simply enjoying a night out. Safety is so important inside and outside of these establishments, and Ariel knows what a responsible operator should do to be a good neighbor,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the New York City Council’s Women’s Caucus. “I know she will fight to ensure that everyone can access and explore our great city’s nightlife without feeling targeted or overwhelmed. I applaud the mayor and Commissioner Menin for appointing a community leader like Ariel, whose seven years of experience on Manhattan’s Community Board 3 cannot be overlooked. I am confident she will work to balance the important relationship that must exist between commerce and community. Our nightlife venues and the residents who live around them will finally have the champion they deserve.”
The city’s nightlife industry is a key component of the City’s overall economy, supporting over 300,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars in economic benefit. With the creation of the Office of Nightlife, New York City joins more than 30 major cities around the world — including London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam – that have established similar models and experienced extremely positive outcomes, such as sharp reductions in noise complaints from a healthier nighttime economy.
“We welcome Ariel Palitz as the new Nightlife Director and look forward to working with her and the Office of Nightlife to expand opportunities for live performance, ensure that nightlife venues have the support necessary to succeed, and address the needs of the tens of thousands of musicians who ensure there is live performance happening in the city 365 days a year,” said Tino Gagliardi, President of Local 802, AFM, the largest local union of professional musicians in the world. “The city’s musicians are eager to help promote policies and programs that support the valuable labor of performers and meet the challenges facing the venues and the workforce who together make New York City a global cultural capital.”
“We commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Menin for tapping Ariel Palitz to run the Office of Nightlife,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Ariel’s passion for New York culture, combined with her hands on experience running nightlife venues, and participation in community affairs make her uniquely qualified to step into the vital role of Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife.”
“New York’s cultural vibrancy is under threat in our rapidly gentrifying city. We are very excited that we now have a nightlife director and we look forward to working with her to save grassroots cultural spaces, where future stars are born and where all New Yorkers, no matter what their skin color, sexual orientation or income can enjoy life and pursue their dreams,” said Olivia Kazi from the NYC Artist Coalition. “The nightlife director will be key in building the trust and support needed to preserve the thriving diversity and democratic character of NYC’s independent cultural scene.”
Ariel Palitz is a former nightclub owner, promoter, and community board member. From 2004 to 2014, Palitz owned and operated Sutra, a nightclub in the East Village that hosted legendary DJs and musicians. From 2007 to 2014, Palitz served on Community Board 3 as a member of the State Liquor Authority and Department of Consumer Affairs Licensing Committee. She has been involved with the NY Hospitality Alliance and the Lower East Side Girls Club. Most recently, Palitz founded Venue Advisors L.L.C., a full service hospitality and small business consulting company. Palitz, 47, was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate of the University of Hartford. She currently resides in the East Village.
Photo vredit: Sutra’s Ariel Palitz, by Blackbook.