SBS 2's 3AM: Sex, Drugs, New York offers an up-close view of the late night exploits of some of NYC’s most ambitious and uninhibited young people, whose nocturnal hustle quickens the pulse of the city that never sleeps. In following the lives of club photographers, DJs, escorts and social media personalities, the show provides a good cross-section of the city’s dawn chasers. And it's very much worth watching, because, as a longtime New Yorker, I know it's hard to find such honest — or especially interesting — people. After all, they only come out at night.
If 3AM followed most New Yorkers — including myself — the show would look a lot more boring. There'd be no kinky sex or big time money being thrown around at wild parties. Here's a sneak preview of what a Friday night itinerary would look like if I was the star of 3AM.
When that clock hits 6pm, I bolt out of the office, absolutely ready to not think about work for the next 60 or so hours. New York is in the thick of rush hour; sharp-elbowed workers take no prisoners as they walk down the sidewalk, pushing and swiping past anyone who can’t keep pace.
I zig and zag around fellow commuters as I rush to the subway station, and once I see a train loading riders, I fly down the staircase in hopes of catching it before it leaves. I make it right as the sliding doors begin to close, sticking my foot in between them. That stops the closing, and bounces the doors back a few inches, which lets me slip through sideways into the incredibly crowded car.
Time to hit the gym. After 20 minutes on the treadmill, I decide that my small lunch — just a salad! — and all the exercise I got at my standing desk mean I can shorten my workout.
There’s a new bar in my neighbourhood and I’ve heard it’s pretty cool, so I decide to check it out. I get a craft beer and sit down at a table. Soon, a group of young summer interns from university descend on the place. One spills a drink on my table and, when apologizing, calls me “sir,” even though I’m only, like, 10 years older than him. This place is lame, and anyway, I’m hungry.
Eating at restaurants can get real expensive, so I’m always trying to buy groceries to save some cash. Everyone else seems to have the same idea tonight, though, and the local grocery store is so mobbed I get turned away.
Back at home in my new apartment. I just moved in and the cabinets are pretty bare, so I decide to treat myself and order a pizza, which I can do without guilt since I just went to the gym.
Time to watch some TV. I flip through all the streaming apps in search of something I haven’t yet binge-watched.
After watching a baking competition on Food Network, I’m really hungry. The problem: my food order hasn’t come yet. So I do the unthinkable and actually call the restaurant, who says the meal had been delivered. Huh? Bad news: I entered in my old apartment’s address, like an idiot.
Get a text from my work friend Jimmy. He and some pals are going to a bar nearby. Do I want to join? I really should go socialize, but I’m hungry, and ughhh, don’t want to talk about work. I spend 15 minutes debating and another 15 minutes trying to figure out a good excuse to get out of it. Then it dawns on me I can just pretend I didn’t see this text because I was out with other friends.
Now starving, I decide to pick a snack up at the bodega (what we call the local corner stores). They’ve got bagels, which look pretty old, and salads, which look pretty wilted. I decide on a turkey and cheese sandwich. But before I can order, I hear two older gentleman arguing. Just as I turn around, they begin to really go after one another. It’s toe-to-toe screaming, aggressive and genuinely angry. I fear one of them is armed, so I decide to slip out the door without ever ordering my sandwich.
I run into Jimmy. He asks why I didn’t respond to his text. My phone’s dead and I’ve been out all night, I tell him. Right then, my phone rings. I try to pretend it’s a total surprise, as if it somehow came back from the dead. Jimmy clearly doesn’t believe me and walks away, annoyed. But there’s good news: the pizza place felt bad about the mix-up and sent me a pie.
I’m back at home, and so ravenous I eat the entire pie.
I am fast asleep.
Awoken by a pain in my gut, I hobble to the bathroom, where I lay on the floor for the next hour or so. I’m finally drifting off to sleep when I’m jolted up by my loud neighbour and his friends as they enter his apartment from a night of partying.
Watch the entire series of 3AM: Sex, Drugs, New York on SBS On Demand. It also airs Thursdays at 10:25pm (AEST) on SBS 2.
Watch the first episode right here: