I felt like a vampire last night waiting for the sun to set so I could go outside and wander through my urban neighborhood after sundown. There is something soothing in the stark calm of days end with street lamps replacing the sun’s light and windows illuminated within darkened walls.
The landscape is transformed with a slightly eerie appeal that calls to the night owls who inhabit the restaurants, cafes and bars. During the day these same streets are full of light and color and people; in the evening all is in black and white and the streets are bare. I saw one or two people, maybe a couple hurrying back home or getting in and out of cars but, basically I had the streets to myself.
I started my walk when the sky was turning a midnight blue around the gardens behind my apartment complex. The flowering bushes and still bare trees looked hauntingly beautiful in the glow of lamp light. A slow shutter speed and a gentle evening breeze added a shimmering blur to blossoms and branches.
The streets swept clean of pedestrians were spooky, a school yard usually alive with children running and playing was silent and austere. People moved within the fluorescent light of a late night laundromat and an Italian eatery surrounded by twinkling lights but, outside all was mute.
Bus stops were vacant, garages locked up tight, alleyways somber, commercial trucks slept in a group across from an all night dinner. Astoria Boulevard was busy with cars rushing by leaving trails of light that lit up the night temporarily. A string of street lights raced down an empty street like a band of alien spaceships.
Further down Ditmars things were a bit livelier as a well lit supermarket, a Chinese take out and a gas station were busy with Saturday evening patrons. The many windows of the Pistilli Grand Manor, once a Steinway piano factory, were filled with light. A deli, a Greek restaurant and a pizzeria were bustling, and the Astoria Bakery, though closed had its neon lights flashing.
Walking back home up Ditmars Boulevard the streets between 70th and 74th are being torn up as new gas pipes are being put down and they added a great contrast of urban and industrial grunge. The perfect end to this urban nightly prowl.
Enjoy this walk in the dark.