Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sleeping optional

Eating pizza, buying fruits, tap dancing on the sidewalks, soaking in the magnificent skyline from across the river, watching a stand up comedy routine, picking out shoes, browsing books... what can't you do in NYC at 3 am on a random day? And you won't be alone. It intrigues me every single time. What is it about that city that people consider sleeping optional?

If you look up any city on Google, a Wiki page will pop up with demographics. San Jose, for instance will say, 25% Filipinos, 20% Indians, 15% Hispanics, 30% Caucasians and 10% unknown. I haven't looked up New York but I bet it'll say something like 25% sleep deprived and cranky, 15% sleep deprived and buzzed, 20% sleep deprived and neurotic, 30% sleep deprived and workaholic and 10% weirdoes who sleep at night.

If I'm there for three nights, I absolutely would opt for no sleep. But I always wonder what I'd do if I lived there and wasn't bound by any responsibility. Would the initial excitement wear out or the limitless options would continue to lure me? I'm not talking about just having fun. There's something oddly satisfying about doing chores at night. For instance I'd love to get my shoes fixed at 2 am and go book browsing at 2:30 and end the night with a steaming cappuccino at 3:30. I guess it’s as close to a homogenous surrounding as you can get. In a city as diverse as New York, being out at night could be a good bet on being in the company of slightly more similar kinda souls.

I always hear stories about the young 20 something guys who make a killing in private equity during the day and blow up that money in Greenwich Village all night. Or the women in publishing who talk at the speed of light during the day and enjoy life over several rounds of martinis at night. If I try to fool with my body clock and get less than 8 hours on a weekday, every one in the meeting room finds out the next morning. And yet, in NYC, it is a way of life. ‘Work hard, party hard’ is the motto most live by. And it works for them!

One more day and I’ll be back to appreciating the regularity of everyday life in LA.

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