We celebrate the announcement made this morning by Barcelona’s Mayor, Jaume Collboni, regarding the fact that Barcelona will have a night mayor or a similar figure to take care of all those matters and problems related to nightlife in the city. From FECASARM (Catalan Federation of Nightlife and Restaurant Businesses), we have been advocating for years for the implementation of this figure in Barcelona – which will finally be the first city in Spain to have it. In our opinion, it will help solve all those problems that occur during the night hours. It is crucial to emphasize that this figure cannot be a political one, nor should it depend exclusively on the City Council. Instead, it must be a person agreed upon and co-financed between the nightlife sector and the city council—an expert in the field of nightlife with negotiating skills and knowledge of the bureaucracy affecting the sector, especially concerning licenses and regulations applicable to nightlife, including those related to security, acoustics, environment, and urban planning.
As Joaquim Boadas, Secretary General of the International Nightlife Association, stated, "the creation of this figure will be perfect to find efficient solutions to problems such as those occurring in oversaturated areas at night." Once this figure is implemented, it will be necessary to study a series of measures, such as increasing the capacity of existing night entertainment venues, aligning the ratios with those of the rest of Catalonia. This will help reduce the concentration of people on the street and, at the same time, establish a negotiation table with residents to study corrective measures in the emitting focus. This includes receiving focus and initiating awareness actions similar to those carried out in cities such as Amsterdam, all led by the new night mayor. The significance of this figure was already evident recently at the 9th International Nightlife Congress held in Barcelona, where Ariel Palitz, NYC’s former Night Mayor, explained the advantages of implementing this figure in a meeting with the deputy mayor of Barcelona, Albert Batlle.
The employers' representative went on to explain that "this figure is not only used to solve problems but also works to transform habits and turn nightlife into a tourist attraction and a source of wealth for the city. However, for this to happen, it is necessary to transform spaces and conduct through the implementation of this figure, who will play the role of conductor of all the agents involved in the management of the city's nightlife. It is a figure without a punitive spirit and mediates between locals and residents by providing efficient solutions. At the same time, it helps promote urban regulations allowing the opening of new venues to de-stress existing oversaturated areas, given the deficit of legal nightlife currently existing in Barcelona that makes them tense up. All this can only be done by the hand of a person leading an office specifically dedicated to the night.
INA, in favor of following the model of the Office of Nightlife in New York
As explained in a previous press release, taking advantage of the participation of Ariel Palitz, NY’s former night mayor, in the 9th International Nightlife Congress held in Barcelona, she later met with representatives of the City Council of Barcelona. In particular, with Albert Batlle, the third lieutenant of the Barcelona Mayor's Office, Montse Surroca, commissioner for Barcelona Coexistence, and Ivan Pera, commissioner for Ciutat Vella. Joaquim Boadas, secretary general of the International Nightlife Association, and David López, president of FECASARM, also attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Ariel Palitz explained to the representatives of the Barcelona city government how the office of the night mayor of New York works and recommended that this figure is not a political office. It should not be solely financed by the City Council, as this would cause employers to not see the figure as impartial, and they would not feel comfortable or protected. Therefore, from the INA, we consider it essential that this figure be agreed upon between the City Council and the nightlife sector and not appointed unilaterally by the City Council or by a specific political party.
Ariel Palitz, who appears in the center of the upper image taken after the meeting, already endorsed the creation of this figure in Barcelona and assured that "Barcelona would benefit enormously from such an office, without a punitive spirit, dedicated to helping support this industry and finding a vital and necessary balance with the needs of the community. It aims to protect the nightlife sector, improve coexistence between locals and neighbors, and demonstrate that it is possible to live and work together for the benefit of local culture and local tourism."
It is worth highlighting that recently, specifically on December 28th, 2023, after years of effort by the Office of Nightlife led by Ariel Palitz, the current mayor of New York, Eric Adams, announced that NYC was leaving behind the M.A.R.C.H operations (Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots or Response to multi-inspections without prior notice to community points of interest) promoted by previous mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Instead, he introduced the C.U.R.E (Coordinating a United Resolution with Establishments) plan. With the launch of this plan, multiple inspections without prior notice and sanctions and closures of premises are relegated as a last option, always allowing establishments to correct existing problems while working together with them for the benefit of the city. This reform was a direct result of the existence of an Office of Nightlife and evidence of how impactful and important it can and will be for Barcelona.
New York Mayor Eric Adams stated at the press conference announcing the replacement of the MARCH plan with the CURE plan that "as the mayor of the city that never sleeps, I know that this is a city open 24 hours a day, and we need to support the nightlife businesses that keep this city vibrant. But noise, filth and crime can disturb local residents, and complaints can lead to unannounced inspections that lead to business closures, for a night, a week or permanently. We need to protect public safety while making sure businesses can stay open and New Yorkers can still dance the night away, and that's why we're launching CURE: a coordinated action with establishments". Mayor Adams added that "today, we are changing the way we engage with nightlife establishments by opening direct lines of communication with local businesses and giving them the opportunity to correct problems before resorting to enforcement actions”.
As President of the Catalan Federation of Nightlife and Restaurant businesses (FECASARM) David Lopez stated, “with this great announcement and after many years from our side demanding this figure, we expect a new way of collaborating with the nightlife sector, taking into account that these are companies that offer an essential service to the community and that In addition to employing thousands of people and offering entertainment to millions of them, they constitute a top-level tourist attraction. We are commited to work hard with the city hall and neighbors to make of Barcelona a worldwide recognized city not only for its excellent nightlife but also for its coexistence between nightlife and residents”.
From the International Nightlife Association, we will therefore see with very good eyes that the same night mayor system and way of working that is working so well in New York is implemented in Barcelona, a model shared between the sector and the City Council without a punitive spirit and that start a new stage in Barcelona where nightlife venues and the City Council go hand in hand, all for the benefit of the city and nightlife.