What Does the City’s Nightlife Need to Thrive After the Pandemic?

What Does the City’s Nightlife Need to Thrive After the Pandemic?

People dancing at Yalla! dance party in Brooklyn in 2019. (Image: Fabian Gomez/Yalla!)

New York City’s vaunted nightlife scene seems to be moving in two directions at once.

By many accounts, with pandemic restrictions lifted and the subway once again running 24 hours, night-time hotspots in Brooklyn and throughout the five boroughs are roaring back to life, triggering with them a renewed sense of optimism and creativity that is one of the city’s hallmarks.

“Normally, there would be some wallflowers, but people are dancing more than ever,” the DJ Mike Nash (aka DJ Mike Nasty) told The Cut last month. “They have been cooped up so long they’re going wild.”

At the same time, many nightlife venues have struggled to get back on their feet, for a variety of reasons: challenges with staffing, residual jitters about mass gatherings, and the slow, error-prone rollout of a federal aid program for struggling venue operators and promoters. And of course, nightlife businesses faced a variety of challenges before the pandemic, ranging from escalating rents to conflicts with residential neighbors.

It’s in that context that two reports from city-created entities on how to support New York’s nightlife have been released in recent months.