Text and photos by Anita Peltonen
We do not live on a grid. Winding crossroads and small main streets define most of Philipstown. What sidewalks there are tend to roll up well before midnight.
A few restaurants, delis and drinking joints stay open late, but they’re few and far between in Putnam County.
Up in Dutchess, in the city of Beacon, more lights stay on until late: BBQ and fried chicken places on Main St.; the Yankee Clipper Diner.
Route 9 and Interstate 84 weave through northern Putnam and southern Dutchess Counties, bringing truck traffic to neon-lit diners also favored by locals. They are just outside of Beacon, in neighboring Fishkill.
The cool-green I-84 diner, at the edge of the highway at Route 52, is open 24/7, with “All Baking Done on Premises,” since 1977. The newer Red Line, on Route 9, is a “Mad Men” version of the classic American diner.
There are those for whom these night kitchens are essential. Exhausted emergency workers, workers ending odd shifts who need dinner at 3 a.m., drunk members of wedding parties who still want to drink or eat. Waiters and hosts rouse themselves from staff meals to serve them all.
Finally, some just want not to eat alone. The elderly. Sleepless parents of dozing infants. Others come to parse out their insomnia drinking someone else’s coffee.
This, too, is nightlife.