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The New York Nightlife Bureau has proposed pilot programs for 24-hour nightlife zones that would eliminate “last call” in some bars and clubs.
City officials are trying to kickstart the city’s recovery from a devastating economic loss following the coronavirus pandemic. The pilot program is a new tool exploring the city, with similar programs in Berlin and Amsterdam having proven successful.
“We recommend this as a pilot to identify areas where 24-hour use might be appropriate,” Ariel Palitz, senior executive director of the Office of Nightlife, told WCBS. “New licenses that have committed to hosting community programs in specific areas in exchange for this allowance have proven extremely successful.”
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Palitz went on to claim that the programs in Europe “actually help reduce conflict and quality of life concerns by not rushing everyone in and out”.
The UK used similar arguments in the late 1980s when the government extended pub opening hours, which saw “a huge reduction in convictions for drunkenness and other problems”.
“There is no justification for a system that encourages drinkers to shut down as much as possible just before the store closes,” argued then Home Secretary Douglas Hurd.
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However, the last call from New York City is already scheduled for 4 a.m. – far later than the last call for any other city.
However, the “uniform closing times” of various facilities can “lead to heightened tensions when groups of people leave venues on public streets and sidewalks at the same time,” argues Palitz in her 160-page report, which includes the proposed “Entertainment Districts”.
Broadway producer Holly-Anne Devlin of Kaleidoscope Entertainment welcomed the idea of partying around the clock, especially in places as iconic as Times Square.
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“We have to compete with Vegas and we have to compete with Miami, and right now we are not. These cities are just more fun, ”Devlin told the New York Post. Devlin started “Speakeasy”, a burlesque show, on Friday at Bond 45 in Times Square.
“We’d like to be able to perform all the time,” she said.
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Palitz believes the city can follow the Amsterdam model by granting licenses around the clock to facilities based on strict criteria that include factors such as public transport accessibility and possible inconvenience to local residents.
The update would require a change in state law.