Mayor Appoints Kurtis Blow (et al) to Nightlife Advisory Board
News arrived last week that City Council and Mayor de Blasio appointed fourteen members to the city’s nascent Nightlife Advisory Board, with Night Mayor Ariel Palitz at the helm. The charge of this cabinet post is to “issue formal recommendations to the Mayor and the Council that will address the regulatory structure of the nightlife industry; common complaints about nightlife establishments; public safety concerns related to nightlife; zoning, enforcement, nightlife workforce conditions and the integration of nightlife into the city’s various neighborhoods.” Each board member serves a term of two years.
The picks are mixed for maximum effect. This inaugural team includes Community Board 3’s own Susan Stetzer and even iconic rapper Kurtis Blow.
Harlem-born Kurtis Blow (aka Kurtis Walker) was the first commercially successful rapper to sign with a major label in the early eighties. And his 1980 track, “The Breaks,” became the first rap song certified Gold. Blow later filmed the 1986 music video for his song, “Back by popular Demand,” on Delancey Street.
Below is more info on the appointees from the official press release:
Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Rafael Espinal and Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of the 14 members of the City’s first-ever Nightlife Advisory Board. As a complement to the newly formed Office of Nightlife, the all-volunteer board is charged with making recommendations to the City Council and the Mayor on ways to improve regulations and policies that impact nightlife establishments.
Ranging from DJs and hospitality advocates to regulatory attorneys, the appointees bring a variety of perspectives and expertise on New York City’s celebrated nightlife.
The Nightlife Advisory Board was established by the same legislation that created the City’s first Office of Nightlife. Sponsored by Council Member Rafael Espinal, the bill was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in September 2017. In March 2018, Mayor de Blasio appointed Ariel Palitz as first Senior Executive Director of the Office of Nightlife. Housed at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the Office of Nightlife is designed to serve as a central point of contact between City agencies, the nightlife industry, and city residents. Its mission is to promote a safe and vibrant nightlife scene that benefits businesses, residents and those who work in the industry alike.
“Native New Yorkers and tourists alike love the City for its exhilarating and vibrant nightlife culture, but businesses should not have to face bureaucratic obstacles when they are trying to give people what they want: a fun time out in the City that never sleeps. The establishment of the Nightlife Advisory Board gives stakeholders a voice and path to solutions, and I thank Council Member Rafael Espinal for his leadership and continued advocacy for the nightlife community,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“New York City’s nightlife is so much more than entertainment, it is the pulse of our city, providing safe spaces for culture, free expression, economic activity and jobs. Yet, for so long the nightlife industry has not had anyone advocating on its behalf, leaving too many businesses and residents left in the bureaucratic shadows. I am proud to have sponsored the legislation that created the City’s landmark Office of Nightlife and Nightlife Advisory Board. I look forward to working with the board to continue supporting life at night,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal.
“New York City’s nightlife is second to none. It attracts visitors from around the world and is an economic engine across the five boroughs. The new Nightlife Advisory Board reflects the diversity that makes our city and our nightlife great. Working together, we will ensure the industry continues to thrive,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
City Council appointees
- Robert Bookman, regulatory and liquor licensing attorney, partner Pesetsky and Bookman
- Marti Gould Cummings, drag artist, LGBTQ advocate
- Alvester Garnett, drummer, percussionist, arts educator and advocate
- Pedro Goico, representative at New York Supermarket Association
- Olympia Kazi, architect, arts advocate and urban design critic. Member of the NYC Artists Coalition
- Andrew Praschak, environmental attorney
- Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance
- David Rosen, Brooklyn and Queens bar operator and community organizer, co-founder of Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants (BABAR)
- Susan Xenarios, director and founder, Crime Victims Treatment Center, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals
- José Francisco Ávila, founder and managing member of Garufina Afro-Latina Entertainment, LLC. and Chairman of the Board of The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc
- Kurtis Blow, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ and Chairman of the Universal Hip Hop Museum who has released 15 albums over the course of his career
- DJ Tikka Masala composes and produces music for the Obie and Bessie award winning Brooklyn based feminist acrobatic dance company, LAVA, and is resident DJ at Henrietta Hudson, the oldest lesbian bar in the city. Tikka Masala has been working in NYC nightlife since 2004
- Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3, Manhattan, where she has served for the past 14 years
- Luisa F. Torres, owner of Mojitos Restaurant Bar and community activist