Executives and owners of New York’s top restaurants, nightlife establishments, destination hotels, and industry suppliers were joined September 24 by public officials and business leaders at the Meatpacking District’s SL to celebrate the official launch of the first organization representing all facets of the city’s hospitality industry.

City Council speaker Christine Quinn; Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer; members of the City Council, Assembly and State Senate; and heads of city agencies were among the 350 guests who packed the room in support of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

The membership-based organization comprises small businesses as well as some of the biggest names in the industry from all five boroughs. In addition to government advocacy, The Alliance serves as a one-stop resource for its members, offering education and training, access to top industry consultants, and opportunities to collaborate and exchange ideas.

The Alliance is led by executive director Andrew Rigie, who is the former executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association’s New York City chapter. Rob Bookman, a thirty-year veteran of city politics who was the co-founder and counsel for the New York Nightlife Association (NYNA), and former NYC legislative counsel for the NYS Restaurant Association, will serve as counsel for The Alliance. (The New York Nightlife Association has formally joined The Alliance.)

“The hundreds of business leaders and elected officials who joined us in celebrating the launch of this Alliance is a testament to the strength of the industry that has made New York City a vibrant, global center of hospitality with the best restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs anywhere on earth,” Rigie says. “The Alliance is committed to being a strong voice for the hospitality industry in New York, and to working to address the needs critical to its continued growth and success.”

“The hospitality industry is a major economic engine in New York City,” Bookman says. “We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have already seen for the NYC Hospitality Alliance and its policy agenda, and we look forward to continuing to serve this tremendous industry.” 

An abbreviated list of initial members of The New York City Hospitality Alliance includes: Jeffrey Bank – The Alicart Restaurant Group; Mitch Banchik – NYC Best Bars; Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm  – EMM Group; Ravi Derossi  – Derossi Global; Jimmy Haber  – BLT Restaurants; Stephen Hanson – BR Guest Hospitality; Keith McNally – Balthazar and Pastis; Simon Oren – Chef Driven Group, Tour De France and Five Napkin Burger; Jonathan Segal – The One Group; Paul Seres  – The DL; E. Lloyd Sobel  – Empire Merchants; Steve and George Tenedios  – Café Metro; Herb Wetanson  – Dallas BBQ and Tony’s DiNapoli;Alexander Xenopoulos  – Pax Ventures;  Michael Stillman  – Fourth Wall Restaurants; Anheuser Busch InBev; Borax Paper Products, Inc.; NHR Aloha

"When you think of the best dining, the best nightlife, the best hotels — you think New York," says Bank, president of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and CEO of the Alicart Restaurant Group. "This industry has helped make New York City the greatest attraction in the world, and united by the Hospitality Alliance, we now have the resources to help make it even greater."

As part of its policy agenda, The Alliance will pursue the following:

 The creation of an Office of Hospitality Affairs in the City of New York, which will serve as a dedicated ombudsman for the industry

 A more responsive and flexible Health Department within the City of New York

 A collaborative relationship between the government and hospitality industry that ensures public safety while reducing financial penalties and regulatory burdens

 Additional government education and an approach that emphasizes correction and improvement over penalties

The Alliance’s full-time professional staff, headed by Rigie, will work closely with an all-star team of world-class industry professionals, including Bookman and his law firm Pesetsky and Bookman, widely recognized liquor law experts; Carolyn Richmond, Esq., a labor employment attorney from Fox Rothschild LLP, a national law firm representing the hospitality industry; Myles Share, from Myles Share & Associates, a premier insurance brokerage for the hospitality industry; The Marino Organization, a top New York City public relations firm that will lead strategic communications efforts; Yoswein New York, a government affairs agency that will serve as a voice for the Alliance in Albany; Gary Levy, Partner and Hospitality Industry Practice Director at J.H. Cohn LLP, a recognized tax and consulting expert for the hospitality industry; and Paul Insalaco, Corporate Liaison for the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

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