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Nightlife virgin
Illustration: Maja Modén

The five things an after-hours virgin learned at a 3am rave

In a Bushwick loft at 3am, the party was just getting started for Time Out New York's Rebecca Fontana

By Rebecca Fontana
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At a time normally dedicated to her REM, not EDM, Time Out New York’s Rebecca Fontana headed out to the newest late-night rave in Bushwick, Brooklyn, one of the best parties in NYC right now. Here are the five important things the newbie learned about NYC nightlife.

1. New York’s hottest club is…Fulton Center
Each Sunday, this secret party collective throws a party from 3am to noon, so pregaming is very necessary. And by pregaming, I mean napping. My last all-nighter was to read Harry Potter, so getting started at a time when I’m normally asleep is a struggle. People really do this regularly? At midnight, once the secret location—a warehouse in Brooklyn bordering Ridgewood, Queens—is revealed via email, my friend and I meet up, and, fine, yes, we get on the subway going the wrong way. But we just hop off at Fulton Street; the station, which opened in 2014, has colorful LED lights and tiered floors beneath a domed disco-ball ceiling. “I want to have my birthday here,” my friend raves.

2. Arrive fashionably late (or, in this case, early)
After finally making it to Bushwick and not wanting to be the first ones there (read: losers), we wait at a nearby restaurant, eating french fries and calculating how many minutes until the 6:43am sunrise. To get to the unmarked loft—it’s so secret that Google Maps doesn’t have a Street View of it—we just follow the EDM beats from DJ Honey Dijon that echo from blacked-out windows. I’d wondered if there would be a line, but we’re able to walk right in—as soon as our IDs are checked by multiple bouncers. I’m still a little nervous, despite my beer from the restaurant.

3. Guests’ generosity abounds
“I brought ridiculous amounts of Molly,” one fellow kindly offers as we walk in past a grubby curtain (or is it just an old sheet?) and the folding-table bar. I politely say, “Thank you, but no thank you.” He sits down next to me on the wooden benches anyway. After scoping out the dance floor and leftover Halloween decorations (a cardboard werewolf is lit up by the DJ booth), a stranger helpfully says, “The party you paid for is upstairs.” Oops. Off we go, pretending that was the plan all along.

4. Lofts = apartment goals
Four slouchy leather couches are not quite the “pillowed side-lounge” promised in the invite, but the second room does double the party when we walk in at 3:40am. It’s decorated with the decor of a frat house, right down to the bar’s cans of beer and Gatorade mixers. There are also, inexplicably, bananas. But the high ceilings and wide-open space make me want to live in a loft. My friend and I huddle antisocially on a crappy couch and try to pick out the cutest guy. The options aren’t promising. It’s a house party full of strangers instead of college kids, and that’s surprisingly disappointing.

5. Pics or it didn’t happen
I ask our new friend when it will get crazy. “After 4am,” he says, and sure enough, soon the Brooklynites—from preppy polo-wearers getting stoned to the girl dressed all in black listlessly dancing alone—migrate to the dance floor. The bathroom is super intimidating, with as many neon lights as the DJ booth, so I avoid it. Though the party is awesome and I’m having a great time (maybe), I wouldn’t want to be alone here. And honestly, the blasting house music doesn’t compare to the “Hello” remix our Uber driver turns up for us on the way home. Sorry, DJ P-Jay. After admiring the Long Island City, Queens, scenery on the ride back to Manhattan, I Instagram the smudged black stamp branding my wrist. At 6am, the photo gets its first like, from my mom, who’s up getting ready to teach a class. And really, if she thinks I’m cool, that’s all that matters.

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