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How to Be a Good 'Night Mayor'

New York is the first major American city to create an official body to oversee nightlife. Here’s what it can learn from the European cities that have tried it so far.
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Gerardo Garcia/Reuters

Nightlife is often a tricky beast for city leaders. Allow it to blossom and it can be an asset that appeals to residents and tourists alike. Let it run wild and it can attract nuisance and crime. Crack down on it and risk cutting off a vital part of the experience that brings many people to live in cities in the first place.

Without special guidance, city administrations almost invariably fail when it comes to managing cities by night. Politicians often aren’t the type to be deeply familiar with nightlife, and their understanding of how it’s organized and who engages in it is necessarily limited. Too often, the default attitude is to treat nightlife solely as a problem.