Things to do in NYC after midnight
When I moved to New York a few months ago for college, I couldn’t have been more excited. I grew up in a small town with a population smaller than the total number of students who attend my school. The possibility of constantly having something to do and somewhere to go was one that fueled my ambitions about moving to the city with great zest. As someone whose idea of “morning” is sometime around noon, and whose bedtime often coincides with the rising of the sun, the thought of living in “the city that never sleeps”, was especially appealing for me.
Within a week of settling in my dorm room, I discovered how untrue this moniker actually is – a mildly soul-crushing discovery to be sure. I befriended similarly night owl-esque people, and together we spent the majority of our time being most active when the saner members of humanity were asleep. It was in these formative nights that I learned how few places are actually open in New York past nine or ten.
So what activities are there in New York City after midnight?
Bars that have more to do than drink: Instead of drinking being the sole reason for going to a bar, why not take advantage of New York’s music scene that doesn’t live in any of the Bowery affiliated venues? Places like Rockwood Music Hall and The National Underground have nightly musical acts (and usually more than one!) with no additional cost most of the time. Also, the latter has “Rock Star Karaoke” every Wednesday, where those who take part get to sing with a live band instead of a karaoke machine – and who hasn’t wanted to indulge their own inner rock star?
Visiting parks: While visiting the park to read a book, catch up with a friend, or simply just relax might seem like a purely daytime activity, New York’s parks take on a whole other life at night. Obviously, Central Park, with its massive size, heavy “forested” areas, and rumors about bad things happening that are just a little too specific to be entirely made up, is to be avoided after sunset (unless you’re attending an event). The city’s more open spaces like Madison Square Park, Union Square Park, and Washington Square Park, on the other hand, provide excellent opportunities for people watching – at any hour of the day. Parks with spectacular views such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Chelsea Waterside Park become even more enchanting when offering illuminated cityscapes, without hordes of other spectators around.
2 Bros Pizza: Is there a better friend to those who live life in the moonlight than pizza that’s available 24 hours a day? 2 Bros gets its own entry because I’m convinced there isn’t a better deal in New York than getting two slices of pizza and a can of soda for $2.75. Not only is the pizza cheap, it’s delicious. Whether you’re grabbing a slice after a night of shenanigans, or merely awake when most restaurants are closed, 2 Bros has your back.
Times Square: Even mentioning Times Square is usually enough to send those who make their homes in New York into a stressful frenzy. It’s crowded, full of tourists who don’t know where they’re going, and never as impressive as imagined. However, like many other things, Times Square takes on special qualities late at night. Sitting on a curb in one of the pedestrian-only areas at 2 AM, is something I recommend everyone does at least once. Depending on the night, you could marvel at the number of families still checking things off on their “Things to do in New York” checklists, or feel like you’re in some post-apocalyptic world where even the most populated areas are deserted. It’s also a perfect opportunity to remind yourself that you’re just a walk or subway ride away from a place where millions of people want to visit – and that’s a damn good reason to stay up late.