In NYC, some doors now close at 10 p.m

If you see “Moulin Rouge” on Broadway at 8 p.m. Thursday and exit the theater after 10:30, definitely don’t take the train down to Wo Hop expecting to get around 11 p.m. lo mein. The subway is back up and running all night, but Chinatown that used to be open 24 hours closes at 10 p.m

L’Express, a French bistro on Park Avenue South, has a sign outside that says “Ouvert 24 Hrs.”, but these days it closes at 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. remaining days of the week.

Chelsea coffee shop, beautifully designed laid-back dining space that was formerly open day and night, now calls it to a 1am stop Whitestone Lanes, a bowling alley in Queens that used to operate 24 hours but it closes at 1 or 2 a.m. And there’s a 24 hour gym session in Kew Gardens that closes at 10 p.m.

As New York recovers from the global pandemic, one might wonder if its reputation as a 24-hour town is at stake.

The reasons for early closure vary: Some businesses grow tired of drunken customers in the early hours of the morning. Some worry about the safety of their employees home. Some shrunk during the pandemic and haven’t resumed round-the-clock operation. And many restaurants still say they’re having trouble finding enough help, even as there are signs of improvement.

While the rest of the country has regained all the jobs lost during the pandemic, New York City is recovering more slowly. Many hotel and restaurant jobs have disappeared as fewer people visit the city or eat out, and the ones that remain are often the hardest to fill, offering late-night shifts and relatively low wages.

In 1978, when Frank Sinatra — known for his late-night eats at venues like PJ Clarke’s and Jilly’s — sang “New York, New York,” he wanted to “wake up in the city that never sleeps.” The badge is stuck. But now New Yorkers accustomed to a city where machines run until dawn are feeling disoriented by adjusted closing hours. Want a bite to eat after the last call at the bar? Sure, your bodega is probably open. But you might not sit down on your old standby.

A recent night out showed startled customers across the city as they struggled with re-scaling rooms at previously run-of-the-night establishments – as well as ample evidence that foodies New York’s late night has changed and moved but not completely gone. .

“Wo Hop is closed? How is that possible? ” asked Damon Crittendon, after being turned away on Saturday night.

He and his wife were attending a party, and he had hoped to brag to his kids about having late-night roast duck, just like he had been. He currently lives 60 miles away in Goshen, but recalls his younger days when he used to frequent Wo Hop after hanging out in the clubs. “I was looking for something nostalgic,” he said.

Wo Hopopened in 1938, operated on a 24-hour schedule for decades, then until 4:30 a.m. starting in the early 2000s.

“We have mostly older staff,” said David Leung, a part-owner and family member who has been with the restaurant for generations. He said some employees have decided to retire after not working during the pandemic.

“We also don’t want them to come at night anymore,” Mr. Leung said. “Not many of them actually live in Chinatown. So they would go home to Brooklyn and Queens by public transit. “With recent attacks against Asia“We were worried for their safety,” he said.

In VeselkaShep Wahnon, a Ukrainian restaurant loved by East Village residents and NYU students, just finished up a donut and matzo ball soup.

He has been frequenting Veselka since 1981, he said. “Now they have one thing, ‘The kitchen is closed.’ That’s a new thing. The neon sign on the window saying “open 24 hours” was not illuminated.

Veselka, which started as a candy stand in 1954 and turned into a full restaurant in the 1980s, was open 24 hours from 1991 to March 2020 during the pandemic. Now, it closes at 11 p.m. weekdays and at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

“I couldn’t find quality help,” said Jason Birchard, third-generation owner. “Really, it is very difficult to find someone to wash dishes and cook food.”

One obstacle, he said, is the pandemic has disrupted Broadway and Off Broadway theaters — and a reliable supply of actors and crew members have moved to New York, ready to work in the theaters. queue while waiting for a big break. Now, he notes, “You can be in Kansas and audition over Zoom.”

James A. Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policy at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, noted that labor force participation in New York City has recovered significantly. “For me, that shows that there’s not really a shortage of people looking for work,” he said. “There could be a disconnect between job openings and job seekers.”

Despite that, officials told Birchard they missed the old Veselka. They remember coming late at night to eat pierogi. But he doesn’t think he’ll be back to work 24 hours any time soon.

For some business owners, stay open also late attracts some unwanted customers.

Space billiardslocated 12 floors above the bustling center of K-Town on West 32nd Street, has been open since 2007 but was shut down 24 hours a day, seven days a week, before the pandemic – in 2017.

“The problem is,” says Harvey Shim, chief marketing officer, “most of the people who come in after 1 a.m. aren’t usually the most, um, polite or in great spirits.”

However, even if you forgo the 24-hour service, you can still stay open quite late. Space Billiards is now closed when it stops serving alcohol at 4am. And it’s usually busy until the last minute possible.

After midnight, in the early hours of Sunday morning, all the pool tables were booked and there was an hour wait to play. When Beyoncé’s voice came through the speakers, the bar area was packed, with customers in no hurry to sip beers and cocktails.

“They don’t want FOMO,” said Mr. Shim – the fear of missing out. “So they came come to K-Town because it’s not only our business but a lot of businesses open after 3am”

After 2 a.m. on Sunday, six people in different shiny flannels were forced into the narrow foyer of Donut’s pub on West 14th Street, order red velvet donuts, savory caramel and bacon. Classic Old New York staples have remained open around the clock – since December 1964.

Buzzy Geduld, the founder, believes that other 24-hour joints previously can also extend their time. When employees return to the office, businesses will adjust to accommodate them, he said.

“You’ll see a lot of people coming back to the city and a lot of people hanging out at night before they go home,” he said. “I think it’s a temporary thing – just one man’s opinion.”

Even now, Donut Pub’s light, sweet French toast isn’t the only option in New York in the early morning hours.

Coppelia, a few doors down from the Donut Pub, serves “the soul of Cuba” – empanadas, chicken with rice – 24 hours a day.

Daisey’s Diner in Park Slope, Neptune Diner in Astoria, Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg and Court Square Diner in Long Island City all remain open 24 hours. And lots of fresh Pizza 99 locations across the city open until 5am

“This is the calm before the storm,” said a manager at Katz’s Delicatessen said, even if the line at the counter was deep to four people. Plates of pickles and half-eaten pastrami sandwiches were strewn across the table. They were expecting more customers to come when the bars closed, at 4am

For some facilities that operate throughout the night, the peak of the pandemic is only a short-term disruption.

Jake Dell, a third-generation owner, said Katz’s, a Lower East Side firm since 1888, started opening 24 hours on Friday and Saturday nights around 2009 or 2010, Jake Dell, the third-generation owner, said, and recently reverted to those hours after focusing on delivery during the pandemic when indoor dining wasn’t allowed.

Mr. Dell says the deli is back with people lining up to buy pasta and snacks every day. “It’s hard to put your finger in,” he said, “but it really feels like New York, you know, has been completed with its PTSD in so many ways.”

To some extent, the after-work food scene has moved from its old pockets in Manhattan to the corners of Brooklyn.

At the intersection of Jefferson and Wyckoff in Bushwick just after 4 a.m., a man named Tito was talking into a microphone about some electronic beat being played through a speaker sitting on the sidewalk. “Higher vibration, higher vibration,” he said encouragingly.

The two danced as the Mi Amor Halal & Mexican Fast Food truck behind them regularly served chicken over rice and falafel tacos.

There are no less than nine food trucks with improvised seating areas – deck chairs and tables – set up in the immediate area, including Derek Truck, Los 3 Potrillos, Peter’s Crunchy Red Tacos, Tu Mama on the Road, Morelos Food Truck, Baby Boss Truck and Birria Estilo Tijuana.

Tia Butler, wearing heels and a miniskirt, stepped out of a car with a group of friends. She attended a fashion show, then went to a few clubs, and was ready to go buy something to eat. “We were just walking around here,” she said.

As time passed 4:30 a.m., Femmie, a model on the catwalk in a fishnet crop top, plaid mini skirt and fur boots, came to line up to buy Tet cakes on Troutman Street. “New York To be the city never sleeps,” she said, emphasizing her point emphatically.

“I mean, look at us. Out like a cat in a black alley,” she said, with a masterfully executed purr. “Ready to attack.”

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