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So You Want to Be a ‘Night Mayor’

As U.S. cities hire nightlife officials, we talked to people on the job about what they really do—and why you shouldn’t call them “night mayors” at all.
A man uses his mobile phone near food stalls at a festival in New York.
A man uses his mobile phone near food stalls at a festival in New York.Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

In his first week on the job, Shawn Townsend wants to be clear about his title.

“I am not the night mayor,” he says. “I am the director of the Office of Nightlife and Culture.”