OUR LETTER TO 2018 CANDIDATES
August 15th, 2018
We are contacting you regarding a persistent and disturbing issue that is decimating the quality of life in neighborhoods across NYC. The saturation of liquor licenses and irresponsible nightlife-driven establishments are turning many neighborhoods into “nightlife malls” where the public health and safety as well as the consumer choices of residents are compromised. At stake is the rich cultural diversity and vibrant mix of neighborhoods that define NYC.
In order to ensure that the voice of the community is heard, Neighborhoods United formed in the summer of 2018, uniting Block Associations, Community Organizations and residents from across New York City’s five boroughs to advocate for common sense development of our neighborhoods that includes and respects the local, existing community.
We are committed to stemming the assault on our communities by big real estate, the hospitality and nightlife lobby and the liquor industry which seem determined to replace New York City’s network of unique and diverse neighborhoods with a one-size-fits-all late-night economy monoculture that excludes local residents from the decisions that impact their communities. We are fed up with our beloved local venues, pubs, and mom-and-pop shops being driven out of business by generic mega-clubs, clubstaurants, large scale hotel nightlife, and high-volume sports bars owned by multinational, multi-location nightlife and hospitality corporations.
Nightlife driven economic development — including public/private partnerships between special economic and real estate interests and our state and local government are causing neighboring commercial and residential property values to skyrocket. The result of this is massive displacement of longtime residents, elimination of retail diversity, and record levels of inequality in neighborhoods from the Lower East Side to Bed Stuy, from Harlem to Flatbush, from Hell’s Kitchen to Jackson Heights, from Inwood to the South Bronx.
Major portions of these suffer from daytime retail blight, loss of needed local services and retail goods offerings, decreased public safety, and degraded quality of life standards — all issues exacerbated by high density of nightlife and alcohol-based businesses.
How did this happen? The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has completely distorted, and many instances abandoned, the 500-Foot Law, which was enacted in 1993 to curb liquor license clustering in order to keep neighborhoods safe, healthy, and maintain fair and equal quality of life standards for all communities.
The primary purpose of the New York State Liquor Authority is to control and moderate drinking "for the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of the State.” Its secondary purpose is to promote the economy. The State Liquor Authority has reversed these. The New York State Liquor Authority must return to its regulatory function and primary purpose.
Additionally, the Nightlife Advisory Board, created by the Mayor and City Council, is comprised of numerous industry lobbyists, nightlife operators and their supporters. We are strongly convinced that this forum will not address community concerns in any meaningful way.
Neighborhoods United wants to hear how you, if elected, will address these urgent problems. Enclosed is a list of our recommendations. We look forward to meeting with you soon.
For Neighborhoods United