New York’s world of night owls is dark and habitually drunken. From Battery Park to Harlem, from Bed-Stuy to Hell’s Kitchen, those who dock their togs after two a.m. or later don’t have bed on the mind, at least not immediately. It’s not our fault that the B train stops running at nine o’clock, and if that’s how the MTA’s going to be, well, why not just stop for a nightcap on the way home?
If midtown Manhattan is one of the world’s power centers, the Time Warner Center is surely one of its most commanding foci. Yes, it’s a mall. Get over it already. Betwixt Hugo Boss and Barnes & Noble live three of the best restaurants in the world. Southampton Sarah mans the line at one of them.
On a night when we both clock out reasonably early, just after midnight, I meet her at a bar in upper midtown. She’s already enjoying her second Stella with an international posse of equally battle-battered colleagues, who are busy vehemently drinking their own pints. The restaurant staff where Sarah works is probably as global as its business clientele—the line hears snatches of French, German, British, Hebrew and that funny Swiss accent, at once clipped and barbaric; the plongeurs mostly speak Spanish. The waiters, as they are all over New York, are from small towns in Ohio, military towns in Virginia, farm towns in east Washington State—places where having moved to New York means having made it, no matter what you end up doing there.