Nylon Nights

How To Do Nowadays’ Famous 24-Hour Rave Like A Pro

After the club announced it could be closing in 2024, one raver tried to survive its dance marathon one more time.

by Arielle Lana LeJarde

I have a theory that the average coolness factor of the crowd’s pants at Nowadays is directly correlated with how good of a time you'll have there: the bigger, the better. Tonight, at 12:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday, the dance floor at the Queens club is filled with skinny jeans and jeggings (which could be because TikTok has caught on) but I’ve here to have a good time regardless — while I still can.

In December 2023, Nowadays revealed that its lease was up in the air, and there was a chance it could potentially close its doors in 2024. Fueled by memories of life-changing conversations and seeing some of my favorite DJs until the early hours of the morning with my friends at Nowadays, I decided to go to its flagship 24-hour rave, Nonstop, one more time.

I quickly get into my normal Nowadays routine: smoke a cigarette in the backyard, put my earplugs in, and find a corner of the dancefloor to stash my puffer so I can spend the rest of the night dancing — though I soon notice how much the crowd has changed. As Lamin Fofana pounds out a well-thought-out buildup, couples keep bumping into me and a girl is arguing with one of the staff about using her phone on the dance floor. (No phones on the dance floor is literally their only rule.) I decide to go home until the unofficial “real heads” hour — because the actual secret to going to a Nonstop is that the best acts get booked at 6 a.m.

Past Nonstop experiences have taught me the value of snagging rest while you can, so after a quick disco nap, I’m back to catch what I hope to be a set of genre-hopping madness from Miami's DJ Python. The floral button-up crowd has been replaced by guests in harnesses and baggy cargo pants, which is — what did I say before? — how you know the party's going to be good.

Maybe it’s how the fog is bouncing off the sunlight filling the room, but it reminds me of why I love coming to Nowadays.

DJ Python begins his set with dreamy, un-Shazamable techno (yes, I did try) before layering Miami bass over funky disco house. The unexpected pairing is so groove-inducing that my sore limbs can't help but keep moving. When I get so sweaty that I need a break, I pick up a smoothie — my favorite is the blueberry-packed Jada — and sit at the counters next to the dance floor. A petite brunette girl with large pupils asks me if her mascara is fucked up, and when I tell her she looks good, she smiles before heading back.

As the sun comes up, I finally run into someone I know. Teddy yells “HEADS KNOW!” (the name of the party I throw) when he sees me and gives me a big hug. I have a quick breakfast of green chilaquiles at The Zumbador, Nowadays’ indoor restaurant, and take my umpteenth cigarette break outside, where the light of the sun feels rejuvenating after a cold, rainy week in New York. I walk past three groups huddled in different areas, just chatting and enjoying the warm weather. Inside, DJ Python has handed over the decks to German selector PLO Man, who puts on synths that sound mesmerizingly sloshy, almost as if he's playing underwater, and I watch as a group of friends hold each other and dance. At 10 a.m., when the bar opens back up, I hear Teddy yell: "I need alcohol!" Maybe it’s how the fog is bouncing off the sunlight filling the room, but it reminds me of why I love coming to Nowadays. Even though I’m here alone, I feel the comfort of community and connection wash over me, and it makes me excited for the next time I can experience it with my people.