New York City has been billed as the "city that never sleeps" (a tag native New Yorkers should despise), equipped with a nightlife scene that seemingly buzzes until the sun comes up. You'd think every random night went the way of Scorsese's After Hours and every weekend began the way Johnny Kemp's did. In an article written today for the New York Times, Michael Musto laments the carefree, often reckless fun of the '80s that—in his eyes—has begun to fade away.
"By 1 a.m., the dance floors are usually mobbed, everyone partying with one hand in the air while glancing at the time with the other," Musto writes. "Shortly after 3 a.m. on a recent night, the upstairs banquettes started thinning out, and while there was a crowd downstairs till the end, the end came earlier than it used to."
Musto remebered a time when people went hard in the clubs, only to pass out, rinse, and repeat:
That’s a far cry from the 1980s, when “You’d better work” was an exhortation to party harder. In that fabled decade, I woke up around noon every day, having spent the previous night out till at least 4 a.m., acting out a nearly pathological escape from the potential tedium of daylight.
So what changed? A new world order that involved people needing to actually function and accomplish things:
And then came Giuliani. And gentrification. And crackdowns. And the Internet. And Bloomberg. And economic crunches that forced people to destroy themselves far less furiously than in the good old days.
In the new landscape, a lot of creative types are working doubly hard just to break even. As I’m clanking out this article, I’m thinking of a dozen others I can hawk. And I couldn’t do all that with a hangover, and certainly not if I had just woken up in time for Dr. Oz!
In other words, people grew up. There's still a legion of youth who party with reckless abandon, but complementing them are the people who are aging out of that lifestyle. It's happening to Generation X and it'll eventually happen to the '90s babies. Yes, there has been a lifestyle shift over time, but even acknowledging that is part of growing up. Noticing that empty dancefloor is like looking around the bar and coming to that horrific realization that you're "the old guy." At some point, it happens to all of us.
Either that, or people—young and old—just have shit to do in the morning.
[via New York Times]