Time Out New York can exclusively reveal that Ariel Palitz, the current Founding Director of the Office of Nightlife, will be officially stepping down from her role at the end of April. As a result, the city is kicking off its search for the next "Nightlife Mayor."
Palitz took on the then-newly-established role back in 2018. Throughout her reign, she's had to learn how to deal with two different mayors all the while, perhaps most challengingly, facing a global pandemic that entirely shifted the way the hospitality industry operates.
After five years on the job, though, she’ll be moving away from her duties but still plans on “supporting and fighting for the nightlife industry and community,” she says to Time Out over the phone.
"I was chosen to help establish this brand new office, build the foundation, infrastructure and define what the office was intended to do," says the official. "After navigating it through a pandemic and two administrations, I felt that it was important to pass the torch and ensure that the existence of the Office of Nightlife carries on in a way that is not really just dependent upon me."
According to the new job posting, the would-be executive director will lead the daily operations of the Office of Nightlife, spearheading the agency's overarching strategy to support the local after-hours industry, advocating for additional policies and programs and managing day-to-day operations.
Even more specifically, the chosen employee will "monitor trends, issues and violations issued to nightlife establishments," "oversee the production of an annual report," "represent the office at various industry events" and "assist nightlife businesses with permitting, licensing and other government navigation."
Minimum qualifications requirements include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and three years of full-time satisfactory professional experience “of a nature to qualify for the duties and responsibilities of the position.” The proposed annual salary range is between $72,038 and $136,000.
Palitz hopes that her successor will continue to promote the sorts of programs that she's worked on throughout the past few years, including NITE School, a series of monthly classes aimed at educating members of the industry on how to open, operate and navigate it, and MEND, a city-wide initiative that provides free mediation and conflict resolution services to address the sorts of neighborhood disputes that nightlife operators are constantly contending with.
“This industry has been seen and treated as a liability rather than an asset to this city almost since Prohibition,” said Palitz. “The historical approach has been through reactive enforcement rather than proactive management. We created this infrastructure […] to make sure that people in the industry have a seat at the decision table and are getting dedicated resources needed to survive.”
As for tips for her successor, Palitz is quick to point out that the responsibilities are "a labor of love."
"I myself was born and raised in New York, was a promoter in clubs and owned my own nightclub in the East Village for ten years," she says. "My personal experiences helped me find and implement the solutions that I wish I had when I was an owner so I hope the new director comes from a place of love, respect and appreciation for the industry and the city."
We salute Palitz and wish the future Nightlife Mayor the best of luck!