I came up with the concept for Hudson Valley Nightlife in 2003. My friends and I had graduated college and regularly spent our weekends out on the town. Living in Orange County, we had a wide variety of options within a reasonable driving distance, including: Middletown, Newburgh, Nyack, Poughkeepsie, Monticello, White Plains, Kingston, and New Paltz. We liked switching things up and not hitting the same places all the time, so we’d cycle through venues in each of these cities. At the time, there was a lot going on in the nightlife scene and theme parties were popular.
Seeing as we had so many options, I would gather up as many club flyers as I could for the upcoming weeks and present the options to the group. We would then pick what we thought was going to be the best party for that night. After doing this for a couple months, I thought that other people might want the same information we had. This was before Facebook was popular and the information was harder to gather than it is now. So I registered the HudsonValleyNightlife.com domain and, using my experience building web sites, created an online calendar listing of upcoming events. As soon as I’d get a new flyer, I would post it on the site. The site grew over time organically. My knowledge of SEO helped push us high in the search engine rankings and we’d often have over 100 people hitting the site on a daily basis.
When I first started posting events, I did it as a hobby, but over time I thought of various ways to monetize the site, including charging for listings, placing advertisements on the site, promoting other people’s events, and throwing my own events. I had some success in each of those areas, but throughout the course of the last 15 years, HVN has always remained a side project for me. I never gave it the time and effort it would have needed to grow into a serious business.
Over time the nightlife scene began evolving. The hyped-up theme parties and traveling DJ parties starting happening less and less frequently. Many popular venues closed. Social media sites and apps became the new way of promoting and sharing events. Google made it easier to find and search for local events. And frankly, my friends and I grew older and phased out of the scene to a certain degree. Some got married; some had children. Focuses turned elsewhere. I still go out regularly and keep an eye on Facebook to see what events are happening locally, but I know I’m in the minority for my age group.
Given the current nightlife climate and my focus on the two other businesses I own, I’ve decided to put HVN on hold for now. I haven’t really done much with it anyway in the past 3+ years, so not much is changing except for shutting down parts of the web site that I no longer maintain, like the event listings.
I’ll still be out dancing up a storm as often as I can and I’ll keep the web site and social media sites up for a while in case there’s an extra special event I want to promote, but sadly, it is time for me to focus on other ventures.