NIGHTLIFE: DOLLARS & SENSE

March 06, 2019 at 4:45 am

The NYC Office of Nightlife’s first economic impact report shows growth in the sector amidst challenges for business owners and operators.  City Council Member Rafael Espinal, along with the Office of Nightlife, is working to cut through the red tape, but some residents say their neighborhood is already over-saturated with liquor licenses.

Aired on March 5, 2019. 

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>> NEW YORK CITY IS KNOWN FOR
ITS NIGHTLIFE BUT FEELINGS ABOUT
ITS BARS, CLUBS AND RESTAURANTS
CAN CHANGE DEPENDING WHETHER
YOU'RE LOOKING TO PARTY OR
LOOKING TO GET SOME SHUT EYE.
THE NEW YORK OFFICE OF
NIGHTLIFE'S FIRST EVER ECONOMIC
IMPACT STUDY SHOWS GROWTH IN THE
SECTOR.
BUT NOT EVERYONE THINKS THAT'S
NECESSARILY A GOOD THING.
HERE'S THE STORY.
WANT TO GO OUT IN MANHATTAN?
13,000 OPTIONS.
THAT'S ACCORDING TO THE FIRST
ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY PUT OUT IN
LATE JANUARY BY MAYOR DE
BLASIO'S NEW YORK OFFICE OF
NIGHTLIFE.
A DIVISION OF THE OFFICE OF
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT.
THE AGENCY WAS ESTABLISHED IN
2017 FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS
OF OTHER MAJOR CITIES LIKE
LONDON, AMSTERDAM AND PARIS TO
HELP STREAMLINE REGULATIONS AND
BALANCE THE NEEDS OF NIGHTLIFE
BUSINESSES WITH THOSE OF THE
COMMUNITIES THAT HOUSE THEM.
ARIELLE, A FORMER NIGHTCLUB
OWNER, THE OFFICE OF NIGHTLIFE'S
SENIOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.
>> THE OFFICE AS WE LIKE TO
DESCRIBE IT AND WHAT ITS
RESPONSIBILITIES ARE IS TO BE A
CENTRAL POINT OF CONTACT FOR THE
NIGHTLIFE INDUSTRY, ITS
EMPLOYEES, ITS PATRONS, ITS
RESIDENTS, WITH THE CITY, TO
ENSURE AND SUPPORT THAT IT'S
GOING TO BE VITAL AND EFFICIENT
AND SAFE AND FAIR FOR EVERYBODY.
>> THE AGENCY DEFINES NIGHTLIFE
IN THE CITY AS PATRONAGE OF FOOD
SERVICE, BARS, THE ARTS, VENUES
AND SPORTS AND RECREATION
LOCATION BETWEEN THE HOURS OF
6:00 P.M. AND 6:00 A.M.
CONSULTANTS LOOKED AT NOT JUST
THE DIRECT ECONOMIC IMPACT OF
THIS PATRONAGE BUT THE INDIRECT
LIKE MONEY PAID TO RESTAURANT
FOOD SUPPLIERS OR TAXIS HIRED TO
DRIVE PEOPLE FROM POINT "A" TO
POINT "B".
>> PEOPLE GO OUT TO SPEND MONEY
IN THE ECONOMY, THERE'S A RIPPLE
EFFECT.
NIGHTLIFE SUPPORTS 300,000 JOBS,
$13 BILLION IN WAGES AND $35
BILLION IN ECONOMIC OUTPUT.
>> ONE OF THE THING IT SPEAKS
TO, NIGHTLIFE IS PART OF THE
FABRIC OF NEW YORK CITY'S
ECONOMY.
>> RAFAEL MADE NEW YORK CITY'S
NIGHTLIFE ECONOMY A FOCAL POINT
OF HIS WORK.
HE HELPED CREATE THE OFFICE OF
NIGHTLIFE AND HE INTRODUCED
LEGISLATION THAT ULTIMATELY
HELPED REPEAL THE CITY'S
91-YEAR-OLD CABARET LAW THAT
PREVENTED DANCING IN
ESTABLISHMENTS NOT OFFICIALLY
LICENSED AS CABARETS.
HE SAYS THERE ARE STILL A NUMBER
OF REGULATIONS HE PLANS TO
STREAMLINE THAT CURRENTLY
HINDERS SMALL BUSINESSES FROM
SUCCEEDING AND THE NIGHTLIFE
STUDY REFLECTS THAT IN ITS
FINDINGS.
>> THERE'S ABOUT TEN DIFFERENT
AGENCIES AND ESTABLISHMENTS WE
INTERACT WITH ON A DAILY BASIS
FROM THE MOMENT THEY OPEN DOORS
THROUGHOUT THE LIFETIME OF THE
BUSINESS.
>> INCLUDING NYPD, FIRE
DEPARTMENT, BUILDINGS
DEPARTMENT, HEALTH DEPARTMENT,
NOT TO MENTION THE STATE LIQUOR
AUTHORITY.
>> THAT'S WHAT REALLY GETS
MURKY, RIGHT?
WHO TO TALK TO DEAL WITH THIS
ISSUE, IT JUST BECOMES
BURDENSOME TO THE BUSINESS
OWNER.
>> ACCORDING TO THE CITY'S
NIGHTLIFE ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY,
REGULATORY RED TAPE IS A MAJOR
CONCERN FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AND
OPERATORS, BUT IT ISN'T THE ONLY
ONE.
RISING COMMERCIAL RENTS ARE
CITED AS THE NUMBER ONE
CHALLENGE OWNERS AND OPERATORS
FACE.
POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS CHOOSING TO
SAVE THEIR DRINK MONEY TO STAY
HOME, NETFLIX AND CHILL IS
ANOTHER OBSTACLE AND NEARLY HALF
OF NIGHTLIFE BUSINESS OWNERS AND
OPERATORS POINT TO THE COMMUNITY
BOARD PROCESS AS A ROAD BLOCK.
THOUGH NOT EVERYONE SEES THE
COMMUNITY BOARDS THAT WAY.
>> THEY'VE BEEN IGNORED.
WITHIN ANY DIRECTION OF WHERE
I'M STANDING.
>> TALKING ABOUT LIQUOR
LICENSES.
BOYD IS A FOUNDER AND STEERING
COMMITTEE MEMBER OF
NEIGHBORHOODS UNITED, AN
ADVOCACY GROUP FOCUSED ON
PROTECTING QUALITY OF LIFE IN
NEW YORK CITY NEIGHBORHOODS.
SHE LIVES IN AN AREA SOMETIMES
REFERRED TO AS HOUSE SQUARE, A
STRETCH OF BLOCKS FROM HOUSE TO
DLANSI TO CLINTON.
>> WHAT DOES THIS AREA LOOK LIKE
ON ANY GIVEN SATURDAY NIGHT?
>> CARS LINED UP FROM HOUSES ON
TO DELANCY TO ALLEN ALL THE WAY
TO CLINTON AND EVERY DIRECTION,
ALL YOU HAVE IS CHAOS OF CARS.
POLICE CARS, ON SOME OF THE
CORNERS.
AND THEN YOU HAVE CROWDS OF
PEOPLE CAR HOPPING, BAR HOPPING
FROM AREA TO AREA AND PACKS OF
SCREAMING PEOPLE THAT LITERALLY
ARE UNDERNEATH YOUR WINDOW.
BY 4:00 E
EVERYONE OUT, IT'S JUST MADNESS.
>> ELLEN ALSO LIVES IN THE AREA
AND OWNS A VINTAGE CLOTHING BU
T
TIQUE HERE.
>> I'M A SINGLE MOTHER, RAISING
A DAUGHTER.
AS A RESIDENT AND BUSINESS
OWNER, IT'S LIKE DESTROYED OUR
NEIGHBORHOOD.
THERE'S VOMIT IN THE DOORWAY.
YOU KNOW, SCREAMING NOISE, MY
APARTMENT, IT'S ONE FLIGHT UP
FACING THE STREET.
IT'S HORRIBLE.
IT'S LIKE THEY'RE IN OUR
APARTMENT BUT I CAN'T MOVE
BECAUSE I HAVE A BARELY
AFFORDABLE AND RENT STABILIZED
APARTMENT.
>> SHE'S NOT AGAINST NIGHTLIFE
BUT SATURATION OF LIQUOR
LICENSES IN CLUSTERS.
CITES STUDIES FROM THE CDC AND
PACIFIC RESEARCH FOR EVALUATION
AND OTHERS, UPTICK IN
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR LIKE PUBLIC
DRUNKENNESS AND CRIME WITH AREAS
OF HIGH SATURATION OF LIQUOR.
ENFORCING A LAW ON THE BOOKS,
THE 500 FOOT LAW.
ESSENTIALLY, IF THERE'S THREE
BARS OR RESTAURANTS WITHIN 500
FEET OF EACH OTHER, A FOURTH
CANNOT BE LICENSED WITHOUT A
CLEAR DEMONSTRATION OF PUBLIC
INTEREST.
MEANING THE COMMUNITY HAS TO
SAY, WE WANT THIS.
>> YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER CERTAIN
THINGS LIKE THE IMPACT TO A
COMMUNITY ON LIKE NOISE,
TRAFFIC, AND ALL THESE THINGS
BUT SOMEHOW, ALL THE FACTORS
SOMEHOW GOT ELIMINATED IN THE
PROCESS.
>> MANY BUSINESSES SEEKING A
LIQUOR LICENSE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO
WORK AROUND THE 500 FOOT LAW BY
CITING ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A NEW
BUSINESS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AS
A PUBLIC BENEFIT.
>> THIS IS WHAT'S GOING ON BY
DESIGN IN THE BRONX RIGHT NOW
AND IN QUEENS.
SO ALL IS HAPPENING IN
COMMUNITIES OF COLOR MOSTLY AND
WORKING CLASS.
THEY'RE BEING BULLDOZED BY THE
TOTAL ABSENCE OF PROTECTIONS
BEING IGNORED.
>> THE NIGHTLIFE IMPACT STUDY
DOESN'T TELL THE FULL STORY.
SHE SAID NIGHTLIFE CLUSTERS LIKE
THE ONE IN HER NEIGHBORHOOD ARE
INORGANIC AND
HYPERGENTRIFICATION.
COMMUNITY MEMBERS PRICED OUT BY
$20 DRINKS AND HIKE UP RENTS IN
HOPES OF BETTER INCOME.
>> WHAT WE'VE LOST IS OUR
COMMUNITY, OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.
>> THE OFFICE OF NIGHTLIFE'S
RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT THE
IDEA OF CLUSTER SITES OR MORE
NIGHTLIFE ESTABLISHMENTS IN
COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.
COUNCIL MEMBER SAYS THEY'RE MOST
INTERESTED IN BEING GOOD
NEIGHBORS.
THEY SAY IT'S INCUMBENT ON THE
COMMUNITY BOARDS, ELECTED
OFFICIALS, THE STATE LIQUOR
AUTHORITY AND OTHERS TO LISTEN
TO THE COMMUNITY WHEN ISSUES
ARISE.
>> I THINK UP UNTIL NOW, THE WAY
THAT NIGHTLIFE HAS INTERACTED
WITH COMMUNITY AS WELL AS CITY
AGENCIES HAVE BEEN MORE
REACTIVE, THE GOAL OF THE OFFICE
OF NIGHTLIFE IS TO BE MORE
PROACTIVE AND TO UTILIZE THE
RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE WITH
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
SANITATION, NYPD, TO BE ABLE TO
REALLY STREAMLINE AND MAKE SURE
THEY'RE WORKING IN CONCERT WITH
EACH OTHER TO MITIGATE.
>> THEY INTRODUCED LAST YEAR, HE
EXPLAINS VIA AN E-MAIL STATEMENT
THAT THIS LEGISLATION WOULD
REQUIRE NEW RESIDENTIAL
DEVELOPMENTS NEAR NIGHTLIFE
VENUES AND NEW NIGHTLIFE VENUES
NEAR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS TO
INSTALL SOUNDPROOFING SO THEY
CAN CO-EXIST PEACEFULLY.
ULTIMATELY, BOTH NEIGHBORHOODS
UNITED AND THE OFFICE OF
NIGHTLIFE SAY THEY'RE TRYING TO
PROTECT NEW YORK CITY'S CULTURE
WITH THEIR EFFORTS BUT WHAT'S
CLEAR IS THAT IN A PLACE SO
BUSTLING WITH ACTIVITY, IT'S
THOUGHT TO NEVER SLEEP, WHAT'S
CONSIDERED THE CITY'S CULTURE IS

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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