The author enjoying a coffee beneath Verboten's giant disco ball.
I am not a morning person. But today, I was introduced to the potential beauty and magic that the morning hours often can hold, while attending the Daybreaker morning rave, at 6AM in the damn morning.
Off-hours clubbing activities have been something that our European brethren have been practicing for years, with raging Sunday afternoon dance parties at clubs like Berlin's Berghain, and the slow and steady takeover of "lunch raves," born in Stockholm, Sweden, and now spreading to other parts of the world. Now it's New York City's turn to write its own page in the book of strange clubbing regiments, and Daybreaker, a 7AM dance party that has quietly been roaming around the Big Apple, is helping lead the charge with their juice-filled, coffee-filled early morning throwdowns. Let met tell you a bit of what I witnessed after attending my first Daybreaker at the Williamsburg nightclub Verboten, luckily located only 124 paces from my desk at VICE.
Daybreaker's welcome sign outside of the club. Photo courtesy of Razberry Photography
Founded by Matthew Brimer and Radha Agrawal (two startup alums and long-time community organizers) with a concept and ethos born over a late-night falafel in Williamsburg. "We had an idea about dancing before the day broke with people we love, about cultivating a community that values camaraderie, self-expression, wellness, immediacy and mischief," Matthew told me. "And about going to work with our brows slightly dewed from moving our bodies with reckless abandon, sans alcohol."
While the official dance party started at 7AM, I decided to get my downward dog on during the the event's "opening act"--a 6AM yoga session that took place on the nightclub's sprung wood dance floor, on Lululemon yoga mats that were given to each and every (yoga participating) attendee. Yes, these people are like the Oprah of morning rave organizers. Local Brooklyn DJ duo, The Golden Pony, would provide beats for the party's entirety in addition to soundtracking our sun cycles with some ambient and downtempo grooves. After about a 45 minute session, which was more relaxing than physically strenuous (I'm no expert yogi), the matts were pushed to the side and the BPM began to rise, as swarms of morning ravers began to file in the club.
The diversity of the crowd was certainly one of the party's most intriguing aspects. Most of the patrons leaned towards the mid 20s and early 30s end of the spectrum but there was certainly a range of personalities and demeanors in the club's main room. The first person I had to go speak to was a tall, strapping guy in a suit, who I somehow guessed worked on Wall Street. And guess what? He did! I asked him how he found out about the event and he told me he had learned about it while flirting with a girl at the Polo Classic. I'm not entirely sure what that is but after speaking with him it seemed to make perfect sense. He told me that he had emailed his boss saying that he would be an hour late to work but didn't tell him why. When asked about his relationship with clubbing and dance music overall, he simply stated that he went to Mysteryland last weekend. All in all he was a solid dude and I peeped him breaking it down during the party while wearing a bright pink cowboy hat.
I talked to three young women by the coffee and juice bar and two of them said that they found about the party via an article on Thrillest. The third, who works as an interior designer, said she bought a ticket for the party while drinking with a friend the night prior. She then woke up to her alarm the morning of the party and was like "shit." One member of the group said she has always been looking for a way to both have fun and be productive during the day because she hates to waste the the day after partying by sleeping the sunlight away. She also insisted that I include that she said "only in New York City could an event like this be successful," which may or may not be true.
I went up to a trio of gorgeous women in sundresses and designer sunglasses who I over heard debating whether or not to hide their purses in the woman's bathroom. One of them actually said that her friend's boss at at a real estate firm had sent an invite to the party to their entire office. The other woman said she was soon transitioning from working at home to an office job so she figured she wouldn't be able to attend many morning raves in the future. I recommended she look for a position at VICE, and gave her my number.
I spoke to another of the event's organizers who said that he thought the event would remain successful because they continue to keep it relatively underground and that most of the attendees were the type of people who would probably be awake at 7AM regardless. "If you're going to go work out before work why not get up and dance and do a little self expression?"
All in all, and even as someone who despises being awake before 9AM, I had an awesome time at Daybreaker. The vibes in the room were plentiful, the sound system was thumping and where else do you get to witness a club's VIP section be transformed into a makeshit massage parlour? People in the crowd were there because they wanted to start their day in a different way and knew that there is no better way to do that then dance your ass off under a giant disco ball. I heard inspirational proclamations from revelers like "I want to do this every morning!" and "This is so much better than working out!" I saw a couple who looked like they had just left Burning Man having near sexual intercourse on the dancefloor. I saw a small Asian man in a full suit twerk.
Will this wave of popular morning raves pass over like many other fads do? Maybe. But until then, I'll be dancing my way straight through the sunrise. Who's coming with me?
Visit the Daybreaker website to get on the invite list for future morning parties!
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