On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released New York Works, a series of 25 initiatives to spur 100,000 jobs with solid wages over the coming decade. Within that initiative is a new role for the city that has been discussed for some time: a Nightlife Ambassador who will head up a nightlife office, which will be part of the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment.
The Nighttime Ambassador will serve as an advocate for the music and nightlife industry, acting as a central point of coordination between venues, local authorities and communities. The advocate will provide support with licensing and permits and may, over time, provide financial support for legal services, architectural services, and safety improvements. (Note the wording indicates that financial support is not yet available and not guaranteed in the future.)
“I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has announced the creation of a new function within our agency, a nightlife office the City’s first Nighttime Ambassador,” said NYC Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “New York City nightlife is second to none and is a major reason why people around the world flock here to live and visit. It is also a vital part of the city’s economy generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic output. Yet in recent years, over 20 percent of small music venues in the city have closed. Our office aims to work with various stakeholders to both support the industry and ensure that community concerns are being addressed.”
According to the city’s media and entertainment department, there are more than 26,000 eating and drinking establishments across the five boroughs, employing 300,000 New Yorkers. One estimate reported in The Atlantic magazine says that nightlife in general contributes $10 billion to the city’s economy.
Since it was established in February of 2016, the department has worked aggressively in several initiatives, most notably playing a significant role in bringing the Grammy Awards to New York in 2018 — only the second time since 1998 the show has been held in the city — declaring June to be New York Music Month (in partnership with the New York Is Music industry collective), and commissioning a study showing that the city’s music business supports almost 60,000 jobs and $5 billion in wages — and that it drove $21 billion of overall economic value in 2015, the year for which the data was surveyed.