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10 Things I Love About Clubbing in New York City

We prize hard work, competition and ambition--and thanks to that, the energy here is electric.
March 20, 2015, 5:20pm
RPB Studio

New York City is a filthy hellhole piled with miserable, overworked creatures battling their desperation with one lox bagel at a time. But the chief reason why we put up with this city's vociferous grind is because it's still one of the most goddamn thrilling places to live--and of course, to party in. Our people are friendly freaks, our clubs keep popping till dawn, our underground scenes are thriving, and our subway is open all night (eat it, LA!). The soul of New York is one of robust cynicism, adventurousness and hustle. The same could be said of our perpetually evolving nightlife. Here are ten things I love about clubbing in New York City.

Read "10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in New York City"

10. Strangers Aren't Assholes

Try talking to randos in a club in any other city, and they'll do one of three things: ignore you, recoil awkwardly to the safety of their friends, or make you feel like a jerk. Not so in New York. Here, weird and wonderful collisions with strangers are practically part of our daily routines. Strike up a conversation with someone and they'll most likely give you the time of the night. (Unless, of course, you're a creep.) Plus, no one's going to leave you wasted in a corner and alone. Despite our reputations for being cold, hard mofos, we actually take care of our own.

9. Our Labels

What do LIES, Fool's Gold, White Material, Astralwerks, TriAngle, Trouble & Bass, The Bunker, UNO, Mixpak, HAKT, Mutual Dreaming, Soul People Music, Beats in Space, Razor N Tape, Core, Basement Floor, Loop-D-Loop, Minimal Wave, and Voodoo Down have in common? They're all from New York City, motherfuckers.

Read "New Labels Put New York Techno Back on The Map"

8. Queer Culture

Once upon a time during the dark days of segregation, gays and straights did their own things, with little cross-party pollination. These days, everyone's rubbing shoulders on the dance floor. With Shade, Westgay, Carrie Nation, Ghe20 G0th1k (R.I.P.) and so many other queer parties leading the culture, I'd even venture to say that straights are are finally wising up to the fact that gays are a lot better at having fun. Hell, even Miley Cyrus knows what's up.

Read "Techno Punks and Chelsea Boys: Inside Shade's New Year's Eve Blowout"

7. Weird Raves

Kids at a recent Chinese restaurant party with QT, Doss, and Total Freedom. (Photo via Tom Keelan/Noisey)

Real estate prices in this city are absurd. But promoters are accepting the challenge of sniffing out new, unexpected, and just plain weird places to throw parties, if you know where to look. Remember when Todd P used to do shows in a Chinese buffet way out in Ridgewood, Queens, where you'd walk in and literally smell fried rice? Or when Gobby and Dubbel Dutch played in a Chinatown video arcade? Or Nicky Siano's disco party in a Coney Island bumper car arcade? Or pizza rave? We all live under the iron fist of The Man, but if there's a will, there's a way to do dope shit.

Read "Getting Turnt with Pepperoni Slices and Dance Legends at a Pizza Rave"

6. 5 AM Subway Rides

Photo courtesy of Weird Magic

This one is a no-brainer. Where else in the world can you hop to or from a club in any of the five boroughs for $5.50, round trip? Bitching about fare hikes and delays is a New Yorker's favorite pastime, but I'll take a puke-filled subway car haunted by the spirits of dead rats over one that closes at 1 AM. Imagine having to sit outside the subway at sunrise with a neck pillow made of newspapers, waiting for the gates to open. What we have isn't just convenience--it's freedom.

5. The Hustle

Security guards at a Banksy graffiti appearance in New York City (Photo via carnagenyc/Flickr)

As Simian Mobile Disco once put it, "I'm a hustler baby / That's what my daddy made me." Kids in this city works hard as fuck, holding down a million jobs and partying their guts out at night. Some people can't handle it, so they write thinkpieces about why they had to leave. But everyone left standing has a deep understanding that this daily struggle is what keeps us at the top of our games. Unlike Berlin, New York isn't a city of club rats who spend all their days on dancefloors. We prize hard work, competition and ambition--and thanks to that, the energy here is electric.

4. Diversity

Have you ever looked around a nightclub in any major European city? So. Many. White. People. Thankfully, that whole thing about New York City being a melting pot is totally true, and the same goes for our nightlife. This city attracts immigrants from everywhere, the key to both cultural and musical diversity. From ghetto goths to hip-hop heads to techno snobs to disco nerds, you've got kids of every color and background grinding against each other in sweaty reverie. Thank god, because a room full of the same people = boooring.

3. Constant Reinvention

Julia Sinelnikova's "Crystal Fragments" installation (Photo courtesy of Julia Sinelnikova)

"Waaah, boo hoo, my favorite ____ is becoming a ____ and nightlife in this city was so much better 10 years ago!" I want to slap every dinosaur who says shit like this with a leaky glow stick. New York's club scene is in a state of constant flux, never frozen. Whether we're evolving from indie-electro to techno or Manhattan to Brooklyn, our club scenes are never frozen, always in motion. Hanging on to the past does nothing but turn this city into a dusty museum steeped in nostalgia.

2. Democratic Door Policies

Photo via Toby Bradbury/Flickr

While there's something to be said for a bouncer who filters the door like a well-balanced mixtape, the well-curated crowd that results from a tight door policy often comes with an uglier side: downright discrimination. Many clubs in New York, like Output, Verboten, and Marquee, champion a more democratic door policy: buy a ticket, and you'll get to take the ride.

Read "Felix Da Housecat Denied Entry to Berghain, Takes to Twitter to Voice Outrage"

1. Warehouse Parties

The dance floor at Shade's Halloween party. (Photo courtesy of Weird Magic)

It's not just about the clubs. New York's repping a whole demi monde of warehouse raves and roaming parties at the top of their game: Cityfox, Bang On!, Blkmarket, Resolute, Rinsed, Shade, Mister Saturday Night, Tiki Disco, The Loft, Weird Magic, and countless others are holding the torch for this generation's club kids. Sure, most of us weren't around for the heydays of New York house and disco, and these days, the corporate overlords are serving up energy drinks at our doors, but damned if what we've got isn't something special too.

Watch "SUB.Culture NYC: Blkmarket Membership"

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More From This Series:
10 Things I Love About Clubbing in London
10 Things I Love About Clubbing in Los Angeles
10 Things I Love About Clubbing in Toronto
On A Darker Note:
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in Toronto
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in New York City
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in LA
10 Things I Hate About Clubbing in London