NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York bar owners are worried that a Harlem community board’s proposal to shift the closing time from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. could spread to other areas and damage the industry.
Brian Rosenberg, of the New York Restaurant Association, tells 1010 WINS that closing two hours earlier could cost the state’s bars and restaurants tens of millions of dollars.
“This industry is depressed as it is,” Rosenberg said. “It’s probably one of the worst times we’ve ever seen in a hospitality industry and now to tell people that they’re going to lose two hours a night is really not conducive to jobs, keeping people employed and keeping places open.”
Rosenberg said a varied nightlife attracts residents, tourists and people from other communities and limiting the hours of operation would be highly damaging to a major generator to the local economy.
Some who support the proposal for an earlier last call believe it would decrease problems stemming from drinking but Rosenberg claims that’s not the case.
He said if bars close two hours earlier, it will create binge drinking between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
“People are going to get as much drinking as they possibly can in before 2 o’clock and then you’re sending them in their cars, on the road, probably more drunk than they’ve ever been,” Rosenberg said. “You’re going to just totally throw things out of whack and make it even more dangerous than it is.”
Community Board 10 in Harlem has floated the idea of forcing bars to close at 2 a.m. but no action has been taken.
Community Board 6, in Murray Hill, approved a similar proposal in August.