By Gamal Hennessy
It is a question that haunts the jaded nightlife native every time the sun goes down, whenever they struggle to get up the energy to negotiate the tough door or check out the next next big thing. After a certain period of time, does even the luster of New York nightlife loose its appeal? Is it better to just save your money and your liver for some other activity?
The easy answer to these questions is no. In fact, New York nightlife offers us constant appeal, depending on how we use it.
The Reasons to Stay Home
I am currently writing a nightlife safety guide to offer some advice to people who want to enjoy going out and still make it home in one piece. I was aware of certain nightlife hazards before, but conducting the research and doing the interviews for this project has exposed me to a longer list of problems than I originally anticipated. In short, any given night could have:
- Dangerous elements include sexual assault, theft, accidents, fights, drink spiking, alcohol poisoning and other issues.
- Detrimental elements including the loss of physical ability due to everything from lack of sleep to alcohol overconsumption to weight gain to physical injury
- Expensive elements because depending on where you go and what you have to pay for, a night out could include paying for drinks, covers, clothing, personal grooming and transportation
- Restrictive elements because not every person can get into every place. You could plan all week long to check out the latest venue and then spend your whole night outside the place standing on line.
When faced with all these potential hassles, sitting on the couch and live tweeting your favorite TV show makes a lot more sense, right?
The Reasons to Go Out
The two fundamental benefits we can attain from New York nightlife that make all the challenges worthwhile are connection and experience. With connection, we can establish and build relationships with our friends, colleagues, and new people in our social circles in ways that are qualitatively different than the bonds we create at work, school or an online connection. With experience, we can drink, dance, look, listen, laugh and love in ways that can create memories to last us all our lives. When we combine those unique experiences with the people that we share them with, the result is more than a few hours at a bar. It can be what you look forward to all week. It can be the attraction of that potential that drew you to New York in the first place. It can be part of the reason you live in New York at all. When you consider it in that light, every night you spend on the couch is a wasted opportunity.
The Key to Your Nightlife
So how do ensure that your nights are memorable experiences and not expensive chores? I have always found that individual exploration keeps nightlife from settling into a dull routine. Find the venues and the people that you enjoy being around instead of trying to follow the crowd. Get outside your comfort zone and find new music, new encounters and new aspects of yourself to keep things from getting stale. If you’re going out to do the same thing every night and you don’t even enjoy it, then going out isn’t worth the hassle. But New York nightlife is more than an expensive drink at an exclusive club once you find your own place and your own pace.