Living in a big city you’re always surrounded by people. On the subways, the sidewalks, the parks. Hell, even in your own apartment building you end up running into neighbors, hearing them, seeing their packages pile up in the hallway, silent passings up the stairwell, listening into their fights through paper-thin walls.
New York City is no different. It’s a vibrant city with an adventurous spirit day and night. But during the summer, and especially in the shoulder seasons before autumn and after spring, there’s a cheap thing I always love to do in NYC.
I go on long walks late at night.
I’ll leave my apartment, sometimes with headphones, but not always. And then I just move.
I walk with very little purpose except to just move—to keep moving. And while I walk past closed shops, bars and clubs, other strangers walking in the night… my purpose for these late night city walks is to take that moment of peace for just myself.
It’s a bit like a moment of zen, a momentary meditation. Walking alone is one of the easiest things to do to entertain ourselves. You see things you might not otherwise.
I started this nighttime hobby during the pandemic, when the city was extra-still. But even today, I still take random late-night walks through the city. During the pandemic, I’d take hours-long walks and visit lesser-known destinations when no one else was a round. An opportunity to see something new with a fresh perspective.
When to go on a late night city walk?
Sure, a sunset walk is always pretty. But that’s when the couples and the lovers are out. As a solo gay guy living in Williamsburg, I like to be out late. VERY LATE. Well after midnight. And yes, even on weeknights.
It just feels good to be out and about, to see a still city, albeit one that’s never really that still. There are rats scurrying across the sidewalks, bars that might still be open. People who live with roommates out for their own solo adventures.
An opportunity to discover new things in familiar places
My late-night walks always take on strange dimensions. An opportunity to discover something new—even in my familiar Brooklyn neighborhood. Each night holds the promise of discovery, of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.
I’ve stumbled upon tucked-away bars thatI never noticed before, their doors open for those seeking respite from the urban chaos. Once, I found myself in an intimate jazz club, the music weaving tales of heartache and joy through every note.
One particularly memorable evening, the city bestowed upon me a breathtaking sight: a rooftop garden illuminated by strings of fairy lights. A makeshift haven amidst the concrete jungle, where plants and flowers thrived in the glow of the night.
I sat across the street for what seemed like an hour, lost in contemplation as I gazed at the stars above, feeling a profound connection to the city around me.
These late-night escapades not only provide me with a sense of solace but also a renewed appreciation for the city’s hidden narratives.
New York City holds an intricate tapestry of stories just waiting for those willing to venture beyond the ordinary. The nights are our canvas, and the city, our muse.
I can’t help but wonder what other secrets and wonders await me in the shadows of the night.