Earlier we noticed late-night tumbleweeds at Schiller’s, and now we see Morandi is closing an hour early, at 11 p.m., on weekdays until April 15, when it returns to its usual 5:30 p.m. till midnight hours. Over in Soho, Bun (which had originally hoped to open 24–7) is now closing at midnight rather than at 4 a.m. Not exactly a surprise that they couldn’t draw enough diners to cover operating expenses, but it begs the question — where the hell are the good people of New York ’round midnight?
Even on Super Bowl Sunday — a relatively warm 43 degree evening — the city (yes, even Murray Hill) was a ghost town after the witching hour. A bartender at Wilfie & Nell, one of the few places that have been lucky enough to be bustling during late weekday hours (its kitchen is open till 2 a.m. and it has an irresistible hot cider), told us that his business had dropped off in recent weeks. This month, the bar closes an hour early, at 3 a.m. We’ll resist asking whether certain city officials are winning their battle to turn the city that never sleeps into a 2 a.m. town, since night owls will no doubt be strapping on their stilettos come spring. But it has to be asked: Have New Yorkers always been such fair-weather insomniacs, or are the streets particularly deserted this winter?