Office of Nightlife to address LES noise and trash problems

Ariel Palitz, the city’s “nightlife mayor” — with city agency officials behind her — addressing a 2018 town hall in Manhattan on nightlife. (file photo)

BY GABE HERMAN | A new city plan from the Office of Nightlife will address quality of life issues on the Lower East Side through a set of measures that include new rules for parking and trash removal, Mayor de Blasio announced on Tuesday.

The plan, which also includes an awareness campaign to urge keeping late night noise to a minimum and not crowding sidewalks, applies to a six-block area on Ludlow and Orchard streets, running between Houston and Delancey streets.

The Department of Transportation will implement a “No Standing” rule daily from midnight to 6 a.m. on the west side of the streets, and from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the east side of the streets. The aim is to reduce congestion and noise by removing standing vehicles, according to the announcement.

The Department of Sanitation will alter its street sweeper schedule, operating from 3 to 6 a.m. instead of midnight to 3 a.m. The former schedule was seen as less efficient since there is still a lot of night life on streets during those hours.

The Lower East Side Partnership, the local business improvement district, will be cleaning streets daily and for a total of 200 hours a week. Council Member Margaret Chin allocated $40,000 in capital funds for LES Partnership to buy a power washer truck, and allocated $30,000 to the BID for cleaning Ludlow St., which is outside the group’s official boundaries.

TLC will also patrol the area, to crack down on for-hire cars double parked and making unauthorized pickups. It will do random late-night patrols at least once every weekend.

The Office of Nightlife also announced a “Night Owl” etiquette campaign, which will urge common sense nightlife considerations such as keeping noise down and keeping sidewalks clean and clear. PSA’s will appear on LinkNYC kiosks in the area.

The plan comes after Downtown residents expressed past skepticism over the Office of Nightlife’s role and how effective it would be. The mayor created the office in 2017. Ariel Palitz was appointed the first “Nightlife Mayor” the following year, and then went on a citywide listening tour.

“The world loves New York nightlife, but we also have to take care of the New Yorkers who live where others play,” said Mayor de Blasio as part of Tuesday’s announcement. “We are creating cleaner, quieter streets to improve quality of life while ensuring bars, restaurants and clubs can thrive.”

The targeted area in the LES has over 80 food and beverage establishments and has racked up many complaints of excessive noise, congestion, and trash. The new plan was designed with input and support from residents, business owners, workers and local officials, the mayor said.

“The Lower East Side is one of the city’s most vibrant and social neighborhoods,” said Palitz. “This plan coordinates City services to support our thriving nightlife and respond to the needs of the residential community, to ensure that nightlife is fair and works for everyone.”

“We need a clear plan that pushes businesses to be good neighbors and makes sure that all residents feel respected,” said Chin. “I am glad to see the Administration is joining our efforts through this multi-agency plan, and I look forward to working with our community leaders to make sure this plan is a success.”

“I am very pleased to hear the Mayor and his office are making a formal effort  to address some of the nightlife congestion in the Lower East side,” said Darin Rubell, owner of the bar Pretty Ricky’s at 101 Rivington St. “I believe the most impact will be felt by eliminating parking, and having more room to pull over can only have a positive impact at alleviating congestion. I look forward to seeing and participating in any efforts to help the cause.”

Alysha Lewis-Coleman, chair of Community Board 3, lauded the plan and its aims to address nightlife problems like honking, trash and congestion.

“We particularly look forward to the etiquette campaign to address the noise complaints of residents,” Lewis-Coleman said. “CB 3 looks forward to a continuing effort of collaboration that will improve quality of life for residents as well as the vitality of our small businesses.”

Shaye Weaver