Talk Ain't Cheap

The Nightlife Summit didn't solve every club owner's problems, but it's an overdue start

Because of the report, Palitz says, "If the police department is looking on paper, now I am a, quote-unquote, 'problem location.' I really wanted to speak about the importance of not trying to blanket the nightlife establishment as a problem, but target the methods in which problem locations need to be defined."

"It was clear to everybody there that we're responsible industry leaders," Bookman concluded. "We're looking to work with the government. We're not the enemy. We need some real help. These are real issues."

For her part, Quinn was also pleased with the results. "There was a tremendous hunger on the part of everyone in the room to work together," she said, noting that the summit showed how "confused the different entities were about the regulatory requirements. There's tremendous need for clarity."

Sutra Bar owner Ariel Palitz, perhaps no longer public enemy number one
photo: Tricia Romano
Sutra Bar owner Ariel Palitz, perhaps no longer public enemy number one

The summit also touched on raising the age limit for entry everywhere to 21 (currently anyone 17 or older can enter any establishment with a liquor license that also serves food), which pleased the NYPD. Collins said, "[We] look forward to seeing such legislation pass."

Interestingly, before the summit Quinn had already introduced legislation proposing mandatory ID scanners and cameras, and independent monitoring of cabarets with multiple or serious violations before the summit. "The irony of the meeting is that all that stuff was glossed over and taken over by this other discussion," Rabin said. Still, the nightlife community saw the day as a victory and, for the most part, praised Quinn's efforts. "It's a good first step," Rabin said. "Chris Quinn runs a fair show."

Quinn said she has plans to meet with smaller groups—and there's a public hearing on October 17 regarding the legislation she introduced. But the onus is on the city to continue the talks. "If she follows up on this, bravo," John Blair added. "Don't waste time."

"They seemed to think we could never all be in this room together again," Palitz said. "There was not necessarily a plan to continue with this think tank, this brilliant ensemble. If left where it is, then nothing is going to change. This should be used as a catalyst to keep momentum going. Once the anger and animosity are put aside, you realize we share a lot of their concerns. We need common ground to stand on. The fact that we all love New York should be a good place to start."

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