My days begin after dark. I sleep in the dark, I wake in the dark, I work in the dark and, seemingly always, I eat in the dark.
For more than a year I’ve worked the Lobster Shift at The New York Times, a tenuous overnight stint at our office building in Times Square. The origins of the name are highly disputed, though it is agreed that the term appeared in the 1940s. My favorite story is that newspapermen would go out drinking and come in for their shift “boiled.” More probable is that “lobster” was slang for a fool in the early 19th century. From 9pm to 4am (more recently 8pm to 3am) I work on the News Desk, where editors work to put out the next day’s four or more editions and oversee the production of nytimes.com. None of us are ever boiled. Perhaps we’re just fools.
Any sort of digital work, deadline editing and reporting, means sitting for hours–and no lunch breaks. We eat when we can, where we can. Seamless and Grub Hub, for their numerous conveniences, are godsends. When I venture out, either mid-shift or after-hours, I find myself in search of culinary satisfaction in a city that’s up all night, and sometimes what I need, beyond a dry slice of $1-pizza or the chow mein that seems to be available at any hour, is something approximating a home-cooked meal. (more…)
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