A bartender must wear many hats: friend, therapist, philosopher, entertainer. Tadhg Ennis has amassed all of these skills and then some, as he also photographs New York City late at night.
Like many people pursuing their New York dream, the budding art director works shifts in a bar while he obtains his degree in advertising. A final project for his photography module forced him to be resourceful with his limited free time, and take his camera to the streets after nights spent serving drinks to the masses.
Ennis, a Dublin native, coined the project “Manhattan After Midnight” and decided to share the fascinating images online. “I often tell customers that Manhattan isn’t just one city, it’s like eight or nine cities all blended into one,” Ennis told Lonely Planet News. “The experience and vibe on the street changes so much within a few blocks, that’s one of the things I love about it. It’s forever changing and evolving right in front of your eyes as you live amongst it.”
While sometimes it can be difficult to motivate himself after a hectic shift, Ennis maintains that walking around the cityscape for a few hours helps “clear the head and refocus.” On any given night of the week, he can be found snapping up to 200 photos, documenting the city’s most diverse inhabitants “each in their own little bubbles blowing around.”
“I love the history behind Times Square and how much it has changed. It’s done a complete 180, most of New York City has. Times Square has such a mix of people from all walks of life, it’s so bright and the lighting is always interesting. The Lower East Side, East Village and St Mark’s are great for younger people. There are so many similar age groups but yet all so different on so many levels; homeless kids, hipster kids, rich kids, party kids.”
While many people would be unnerved walking about in the clandestine hours, Ennis is not phased. Although that’s not to say he hasn’t seen his fair share of odd occurrences when the sun goes down. “After spending time living here you become diluted to the wacky and weird, it just becomes normal. There’s nothing that would shock me on the streets of New York, that’s the beauty of the place; there is little judgement here. New York has always been about freedom of expression, and that certainly still exists.”