Hoo boy, the race for Night Mayor is heating up! After the City Council voted Thursday to establish an official Office of Nightlife, Bronx Native and former head of Webster Hall Gerard McNamee has announced his intention to run for the position. Before the ownership change was announced this year, McNamee worked as director of operations for the 1,500 capacity club.
The head of NYC's Office of Nightlife will be appointed by officials, but that's not stopping McNamee from hitting the campaign trail. According to the Daily News, the former nightclub boss was stumping at City Hall Thursday afternoon shortly before the vote.
"I have my finger on the pulse of the industry. I live, eat and breathe it. I am perfectly suited for this position. I curate community and culture," McNamee wrote on Facebook at 2 a.m. Friday morning (nightlife baby!). "It is what I do, it is who I am. After the holiday weekend I travel to Europe for a listening tour. I will meet w key European 'Night Mayors'. If appointed New York City Nightlife Ambassador I will represent New York City Mayor de Blasio and his initiatives."
Citing the city's nightlife scene as a key source of jobs and economic growth, McNamee praised Mayor de Blasio for giving "long overdue recognition to the role that night life plays in our great city. Instead of shutting off the lights and shuttering businesses, this mayor wants the lights shining bright so that business will boom."
With his extensive experience, McNamee may appear to be a leading candidate for
Director of Nightlife Night Mayor. However, a source familiar with the ambassadorship plan told the News he may be too close to the industry.
"The concern is that having a stake in a nightclub poses a conflict," the unnamed source told the paper. "It's hoped that the agency will be an impartial liaison between nightlife businesses and residents."
The creation of the Office of Nightlife is thanks primarily to the efforts of Councilmember Rafael Espinal, who represents parts of Bushwick, East New York, Brownsville, and Cypress Hills. "NYC's nightlife culture is an integral part of its identity, yet bureaucratic red tape, rising rents and lack of community planning has made it increasingly difficult for venues that contribute to our iconic nightlife to stay in business," Espinal said in a statement Thursday. Along with the
Director of Nightlife Night Mayor, a Nightlife Advisory Board comprised of 12 relevant stakeholders will direct the new city office. Eight of those board members will be appointed by the City Council Speaker, while four will be appointed by the mayor.