Photo: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

5 Myths of NYC Nightlife

New York City Entertainment
by Jessica Kulick Sep 12, 2011
Common NYC nightlife myths debunked.
Myth #1: Carrie Bradshaw

I STILL HEAR young women say they moved to NYC because they were “inspired by Carrie.” Whenever Carrie and co hit the town, handsome men fall at their feet, trying to buy them $12 cocktails and sweep them away for weekends in the Hamptons.

But let’s examine the typical scenario of New York nightlife and the dating experiences that coincide with such IRL: you’re waiting at a trendy club dive bar in your Prada dress and Louboutins J.Crew shirt and no-name boots for a wealthy banker an out-of-work musician who is wicked hot who is wicked hot (no, seriously).

He’s already a bit late, and as you’re sipping your Cosmospolitan can of beer, a rather drunken guy comes up and starts hitting on you. At first you don’t mind because he seems rich harmless, but after a few minutes he’s starting getting a bit too . . . friendly. Naturally, this is the moment your date arrives, and when he seees this guy with his hands on you, he rescues you gives you a dirty look and spends the evening flirting with another girl. Bummer.

Myth #2: Everyone goes out on Friday night

Everyone does go out on Friday night, actually. Saturday, too. It’s just . . . well . . . it’s just that those people you see in the club? The drunken couples making out in front of bars? Yeah, they’re not from the city. They’re probably not even from New York. If they’ve got big glasses on and are casually smoking somewhere on lower Third Avenue, they’re NYU kids – recent transplants from the Midwest. Oh, and the tan ones are from New Jersey.

So what are actual New Yorkers doing on Friday and Saturday nights? Drinking beer at their buddy’s place. Watching movies from their Netflix queue. Playing Yahtzee, whatever.

But hold on a second – so when is the best night to go out? You can find the elusive city dweller out on a . . . wait for it . . . Tuesday! Tuesdays are ripe with cocktail specials, prix fixe dinner menus, 2-for-1 deals, and the like. Monday and Wednesday can also be decent nights to go out, considering the week is still young and even trendy places are likely to be less crowded.

Myth #3: Brooklyn is hip, and hip equals new.

Ah, Brooklyn. How you’ve risen like a phoenix from the ashes of your post-industrialist history to become the place where “all the cool kids live.” Despite all of this rebirth and the inevitable construction that follows, Brooklyn can still be sort of run-down and sketchy. Take, for example, the following summer evening, circa 2009:

A friend and I were headed to a former squatter’s hangout turned indie music venue: the kind of place you only know about because a friend of a friend knows the guy who works the door, which of course is unmarked and located in an abandoned warehouse in a dicey neighborhood. We were there to see a new band, and just before they went on, I realized that I really had to use the bathroom. After making my way through a crowd that was already shoulder-to-shoulder, I locked the “door” to the “bathroom” (which consisted of four, 1/2″ thick pieces of plywood, bolted to the floor and graffitied beyond recognition) and took care of business.

I reached for the door handle to let myself out, but somehow it jammed. I calmly twist the other way, then twist it back again. No dice. I turn the doorknob a few more times, then hear the band introduce themselves. NOOO! I frantically started shaking the handle, and when that still didn’t work, I banged on the door and called for help. Entire minutes passed like this until I remembered that my cell phone was still in my pocket – I could text my friend! Desperate messages (“Locked in the bathroom! S.O.S!”) went unnoticed. I sat on the toilet seat and tried to summon help telepathically. Nada.

Finally, after the band’s half-hour set, a guy who also had to use the bathroom heard my pitiful cries and kicked the door in, knocking it right off the hinge. I could barely mutter a “Thank you” before slinking off to the side, head hanging in a putrid mix of shame and disbelief at having missed the show. That’s what I get for drinking $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon out of the Styrofoam cooler they call a bar.

Myth #4: Times Square is the beating heart of New York City nightlife.

The bright lights of Times Square say only one thing to New Yorkers: stay away from here. Truly, if you lived here, would you enjoy the hordes of screaming teenagers in front of MTV, or the masses of tourists lined up for a table at Olive Garden or (shudder) Red Lobster? I doubt it. It’s the most overcrowded, overpriced neighborhood in all of Manhattan, and no self-respecting New Yorker enters this district willingly.

Myth #5: Waiting in line is worth it.

Every so often (read: nigh daily), the city papers will rave about a new club that is already being frequented by the glamourati. You will believe the reporter’s tales of wild nights and multiple celebrity sightings. You will dress up in your finest duds, invite your best-looking friends, and carry an extra $20 to slip to the doorman “as insurance.” You will wait behind the velvet rope eagerly, but not too eagerly because you’re a pretty cool customer – that Jessica Alba lookalike (maybe it’s really her?!) over there doesn’t faze you.

Finally, finally, the doors will open. You will step in, brushing aside the cool folds of a silk curtain. You will blink and squint as your eyes adjust to the dark. And when they do, you will realize that you are the first person there. Moral of the story? You can’t always believe the hype.

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