New York Nights

I have indulged my interest in New York City history by taking some classes at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. As I begin this post, I am sitting in French Roast at Sixth Avenue and 12th Street, killing time before my evening class, City Life in Fact and Fiction. I want to share here a short passage from one of my readings for class. The English-born travel writer Stephen Graham wrote a book about traveling around Manhattan at nighttime. From the chapter of New York Nights titled Exterior Street:

It is five a.m. Something of the burden of the city has been lifted. The air is light. The heart seems freed. I am happy to be walking. I love the space and the quietness. I have got rid of the idea of going to bed, got rid of the routine of daily life. New York and its millions, its wealth, its mysteries are mine. There is a sense of conquest. The bustle has died down and I am still walking. The majority of people are asleep–but I am not the least sleepy. … Whoever would know the poetry of New York must walk in it after-midnight hours, see the red light come out on the Metropolitan tower preliminary to the striking of the hour … enter the Central station at four a.m. and see it anew, deserted, silent, beautiful as on the morning of Opening Day; see the City Hall at dawn hanging down from on high like the sky’s apron.

Though the city has changed drastically in the 85 years since that passage was written, it SO makes me want to walk all night through Manhattan. I have witnessed sunrises here, but only when rising early for a winter race in Central Park—never after staying up all night. One of these days …

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