As the moon yawns and the sun dawns, the city sheepishly rustles to life.
The smell of burnt coffee wafts through the air, stopping to dance on my nostrils, before jaywalking across the street to the shopowners rattling their locks.
A sea of chainlink metal disappears into their overhead caves and the swoosh of “Closed” signs turning their backs on us reminds me that maybe the Hungarian Pastry Shoppe down the block might be serving warm, chocolate croissants by now.
At every shop on the street, delivery trucks serve as wake-up calls in the absence of roosters, unloading more eggs at once than any farm rooster has probably seen in his lifetime. Just life roosters, the trucks ignore the grunts of the bleary-eyed strangers in the apartments above- clawing for five more minutes of pitch-black peace- oblivious to anything but the task at hand (this early in the morning, there is little energy to spare.)
In a few hours, Amsterdam Avenue will be drowned with traffic, but for now, it is empty enough to quickly dart across without looking both ways.
Sometimes 4am New York feels just like 5pm Middle America.
(I even say Good Morning to the stranger selling newspapers. I’d like to think his name is Wilson.)