A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

Last night I left my warm, powered apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and biked over the Brooklyn Bridge into lower Manhattan with two friends. It was the most perverse kind of adjusted New Yorker tourism: leave behind your quaint Brooklyn neighborhood, with unlimited burrata and cold craft beers, to see the blacked-out skyscrapers of Wall Street in the dark. But we were getting antsy-my muscles may be atrophying by now, I think-and we wanted to see it for ourselves.

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

Once over the bridge, we toured around the financial district for a while. We took side streets to see how dark the surroundings could get. Most of the people we saw were working-policemen, security guards, Con Ed employees pumping water out of the basements of high-rises-but we saw a few holdouts, too, walking their dogs with flashlights. Looking up, you'd see just a couple windows with flickering candles in thousand-unit apartment buildings.

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

We biked by the raging bull, which was lit up for a live news report, and then decided to head uptown and west, through Tribeca on Greenwich Street. It was darker up there, in part because there weren't any emergency crews with floodlights around. It was very still: no buses, subway rumblings, or people to dodge on the sidewalk. My friend said that the calm made it feel like winter.

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

In Tribeca, some restaurants were open for business. A few were serving food; most were just offering booze. We kept biking and then stopped at the Spotted Pig on West 11th and Greenwich-one of the Village's most belovedly hectic restaurants. "I don't believe it," a woman told her husband as they peered in their windows, "free tables at the Spotted Pig." They kept walking.

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

There were about 15 people inside, including the host and the bartender. They were accepting cash only, and serving cask ale, wine, and whatever liquor people were willing to drink straight up. It was last call, so we got drinks. The host kept thanking us for coming. People were clustered around the bar, talking quietly. Every table was empty, so we sat in the corner booth.

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

The drinks were very good. Everything else was eerie.

Photos by Yujin Yohe.

Here's something close to the route we took, if you're curious:

A Bike Tour Through Blackout Manhattan; Or, How to Get the Corner Booth at The Spotted Pig

-emma