The city may never sleep, but it does get sleepy. In 2014, we began documenting New York City neighborhoods in the few hours that most of them become temporarily abandoned—the pre-dawn hours, when things appear a little more eerie. The hours where it's not quite dark but not quite light. The empty hours, when things seem both sinister and relaxing. The bars are closed, and most businesses aren't open yet—it's a bizarro New York City, for most, the flip side of how you usually experience it.
While NYC's population is currently around 8.6 million, we gain more people during the working hours (in 2012, an NYU report noted that "Manhattan consists of much more than its residential population and daily workforce. This island serves approximately 4 million people on a typical weekday, 2.9 million on a weekend day, and a weekday night population of 2.05 million)."
Population density in NYC at day and night
— Amazing Maps (@Amazing_Maps) July 9, 2015
So while we can't celebrate Empty NYC Day every day, we can participate in these pre-dawn hours any day of the week. Click through for a look—these photos were taken between 4:30 and 6:30 a.m., in Times Square, the Financial District, Chinatown, Williamsburg, and Coney Island. These were all shot between 2014 and 2017, and we have more coming up soon—if you want to see what a certain neighborhood looks like (mostly) empty, let us know in the comments.