This Tuesday, you have a real opportunity to stand up for New York City nightlife, which has been increasingly under attack from a small group of residents. These groups are fighting to end the city's legacy as a global nightlife destination, attempting to allow fewer licenses to be issued, closing bars early, and even shutting down some venues.
The historic Roxy nightclub is attempting to reopen, and their ability to obtain a liquor license may be blocked by Chelsea's fringe anti-nightlife activists. On Tuesday, you can attend Community Board Four's Business Licenses & Permits Meeting and ask the Board to preserve New York's outstanding nightlife.
Roxy could practically be designated a landmark, defined in New York City as a structure at least thirty years old that possesses "...a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation," according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Roxy first opened in the 1970s as a roller disco, and was known as the "Studio 54 of roller rinks," whose guest list included the 1980 US Men's Hockey Team, which had just won an Olympic Gold Medal for the United States. In 1982, Roxy transformed into one of the birthplaces of hip hop, showcasing hip hop pioneers as illustrious as Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. My own memories are more recent; I was a regular attendee of Roxy Saturdays, the John Blair-sponsored gay night where icons like Madonna and Cher would occasionally perform. Even beyond its cultural and historical importance, though, Roxy was an absolute success story as a club-going destination; it remains a beloved fixture in New York's nightlife and has earned the right to reopen in the neighborhood that it has fostered for over thirty years.
Beyond The Roxy's license problem, there is a disturbing trend first reported last April in The New York Sun. "In most parts of Manhattan, bar and club owners say, it has become nearly impossible to open new nightlife establishments that are permitted to serve alcohol until 4 am." The "City That Never Sleeps" is under attack from those residents who move into neighborhoods that have been revitalized in large part by their vibrant nightlife, only to attempt gut that very nightlife and turn the neighborhoods into the equivalent of suburban bedroom communities. Unless we act now, we could see our 4 am nightspots dwindle off. Make your voice heard Tuesday.
This is more than a lifestyle concern; nightclubs and the businesses that serve them bring over $10 billion in economic activity to New York City and employ over 100,000 people. On Tuesday, tell the Board that failure to grant full liquor licenses will effect thousands of your friends and neighbors.
The fight won't be over Tuesday, though: please mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 23rd, when the full board will meet to debate its final recommendation to the State Liquor Authority. We need hundreds of people, gay and otherwise, to come and show power in action. The anti-nightlife frenzy of Community Board Four is destroying the quality of life for thousands of people in our community. Let's exercise our democratic rights and reopen Roxy.
I hope you'll join me at both meetings. Bring a friend. Bring five. The future of New York City nightlife is in your hands. And hey, we can all go out for some drinks afterwards. Hopefully we can find a place nearby still open.
Community Board 4, Business Licenses & Permits Meeting, Tuesday, July 8th @ 6:30PM at The Westin Hotel (270 W. 43rd St.) in The Minetta Room.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008, 6:30 p.m, Roosevelt Hospital, 1000 Tenth
Av. (b. 58th / 59th)
PS: Want to help? Attend this Facebook Event and invite your friends! See you Tuesday.
Originally Posted on Fancy Animals.
Follow Ryan J. Davis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RyanNewYork