Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson
By Meagan Drillinger

So, you’ve lived here for 10+ years. You are officially a New Yorker, and you think you have seen and done it all in this city. Not so fast! While you may have eaten at all of David Chang’s restaurants, seen Sleep No More three times, and had fresh clams on City Island, there are, I assure you, a few more secrets left. Allow me to introduce Morning Gloryville.

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Six months ago I was one of these aforementioned exasperated, slightly arrogant New Yorkers convinced that you couldn’t show me anything new in this city. The MTA pissed me off, my rent was too high, and my bank account was too low. I was George Costanza. And then I discovered a group devoted to yanking New Yorkers out of bed at 6 in the morning to rave their way into the day. I’m sorry…what? People are willingly waking before the dawn to bounce around with strangers to core-shaking electronica on a weekday…without booze!? Pics, or it didn’t happen.

Morning Gloryville is the brainchild of a group in East London that wanted to revolutionize the party scene. The idea was to inject liberal, carefree fun into urban environments that can often become overwhelming with scheduling and stress. It became about people getting into their bodies and out of their heads. Earlier this year the concept grooved its way across the pond and landed in New York.

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

I made my way out to Williamsburg (where else?) one morning before dawn to a vacant warehouse. The streets were dark, empty, cold…The door opened and a wave of thumping music and blue neon light washed out into the street. Channeling my inner Alice, I went down the rabbit hole and landed into the very big and warm embrace of fellow partiers who draped Hawaiian leis around my neck and wished me a very happy morning. When in Wonderland!

Inside the space, DJs spun while small groups began to jump around together. Girls with sunflowers in their hair, electric hula hoops, and day-glow leggings swirled around each other while artists splattered paint against a blank canvas. Several tables were set up where gourmet coffee and juice purveyors were doling out samples, and underneath a stairwell a woman in a witch’s hat had carved out a pillow-covered den for fortune telling (since this was their Halloween edition). Upstairs, groups gathered for an intense 20-minute Buti yoga session, which combines traditional Vinyasa yoga with booty-shaking African dance moves, warming bodies up for a morning of dance.

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

The core structure of Morning Gloryville’s parties tends to be the same. They always include yoga, or some form of bodywork. Previous parties have had Reiki, aromatherapy, and massage. It always includes live music in addition to DJs, like a violinist or bongo players. Though this Halloween-themed party was dimly lit with glowing blue and purple neon lights, typically the parties are held in brightly lit spaces.

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Morning Gloryville is now in 14 cities across four continents, and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Going into 2015, they are looking to mix it up even further, perhaps by adding a sleepover the night before so that everyone can wake up together.

Above all, the point is to check your ego at the door and shake off all that comes with that. It is about inclusivity — no judgment — and breathing acceptance into environments that can often be bogged down by “should’s” and “supposed to’s.” People of every background, profession, are age are welcome, but there is an obvious group to which this type of party appeals. These people are not daunted by conscious dancing. They tend to be the yogi types; the free spirits, the burners. But gradually, the appeal is spreading to the Wall Streeters, the lawyers, and the doctors. Even yours truly — an often neurotic, self-conscious New Yorker who could never dance without a drink or a manufactured substance — soberly sweat, shook, and African-booty-yoga’d all morning long. And you know what? I’d do it again.

Listen, I’m not saying I’m a completely different person because of this party. And I’m not promising miracles for you, either. The MTA still sucks, my rent is still pretty damn high, and I still need quite a bit of liquid courage to dance in public. But if for one morning you can tell your ego to zip it and check your adorable New York neuroses at the door, then give it a go. You may discover a new New York.

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

Image courtesy of Matthew Gilbertson

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