Earlier Nightclub Closing Time Would Squeeze Employees, Businesses, and Rising Stars

Clubs live with a sword hanging above their heads. Politicians seeking headlines and, of course, votes sometimes target area clubs. Most places enjoy and require a 4am license to serve liquor, but community boards invariably pressure new joints to stipulate a 2am closing. This won’t work in a city that supposedly never sleeps.The 2am license concept occasionally floated by some fool would destroy not only nightlife as we know it, but restaurants and maybe the taxi industry and late night delis, and it may even have an affect on Broadway shows and other entertainment fields. Many students wouldn’t be able to pay their tuition if not for coat check, bus person or other club work. Restaurants would lose large chunks of their last-turn revenues as some late night patrons would adjust their eating habits to be able to get to clubs that would be closing earlier. Taxis would have no one except walk-of-shamers to pick up late at night. The deli business would lose out on late night munchie and cigarette sales. The entire concept of the city that never sleeps would be in question.

The recent passing of Sopranos star James Gandolfini underscores another potential loss. Actors, artists, musicians, and dancers depend on NYC nightlife for a living while they chase their dreams. Mr. Gandolfini famously worked as a bouncer, bartender, and in other club capacities while his career was budding. The list of the famous who made it in NY while supporting themselves in nightlife is long. Dustin Hoffman waited tables at the Village Gate, Debbie Harry was a waitress at Max’s Kansas City, Keith Haring curated art at the Mudd Club. I seem to remember him taking tickets at the door some nights.

I and everyone cool in NY got a drink or 3 or 10 from super cool bartender Bruce Willis at Kamikaze. Vin Diesel watched my back and made me laugh as a bouncer at Tunnel. ¬†Alec Baldwin famously bussed tables and bartended at Studio 54. Dolph Lundren was at the door of Limelight. Sandra Bullock did coatcheck and was a waitress and a barkeep. Vincent D’onfrio paid bills with club cash.

The list goes on and on and includes thousands of others less famous who made it here because they found honest work late night while auditioning during the day. The great majority of club staff are trying to get themselves settled in a career that would only be a dream if they couldn’t pay their bills with late night income.

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide; Follow Steve Lewis on Twitter]

Latest in Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Nightlife Thrives Now, But an Inevitable Crackdown Nears

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Orlando Shooting Highlights NYC Nightlife’s Need for Paid Details

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Will Fleet Week Save Us From Ourselves?

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Death Mask Murderer Up For Parole, Clubdom Gasps

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: When a Club Closes, We All Suffer

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Ben Rowland’s ‘Big Picture New York’ Takes Us Way Back

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Uncle Steve’s Vanishing New York, ‘Vinyl’ Sucks

Goodnight Mr. Lewis

Goodnight Mr. Lewis: House of Yes and Closing L Train May Keep Brooklyn Cool