I have been to some of those places so dark at night that you can not see your own hand. I don't like those places. I will confess that after living in New York City most of my life, I am somewhat afraid of the dark because I don't really know what it is anymore. A case of Fear of the Unknown.
I have read about the health benefits of sleeping in total darkness. I am sure it is healthier, but I find greater comfort with light. I can sleep in well lit rooms, a bedroom at night without shades drawn, at the beach, or on park benches during the day. It's much easier to see anyone sneaking up on you, and vampires hate the light.
Although there are conveniences of living in a place where it is well lit at night, this plethora of illumination is light pollution, and it is a well documented problem worldwide, particularly in urban areas like New York City. The Dark-Sky Association (IDA) defines light pollution as any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste.
Links have been found between light pollution and cancer, increase in blood pressure, alertness and mood. Sleep and circadian disruption, along with melatonin suppression, may have long term health risks. In a larger sphere, ecosystems are disrupted. On March 26th, 2009, I wrote of the effect on our fine feathered friends in Birds Sing at Night.
We grow accustomed to the everlasting light of the city. In most areas, it is easy to read at any hour of the night in the parks or on the streets. Bill Hayes, a writer for the New York Times, in a piece called "Insomniac City," describes a phenomenon he discovered - people who took to the parks on summer nights to read all manner of printed materials - books, newspapers, novels and poetry.
On summer trips when I have vacationed in rural areas, I found a flashlight a necessary tool to carry at night. In the city, I use my flashlight during the day to find that lost item that has rolled under a desk and rarely to illuminate my way at night.
In a city that never sleeps and where everything is illuminated, birds sing and we read at night...