nighthawk edward hopper where is it
Hopper’s stunningly cinematic picture Nighthawks is one of the most reproduced paintings in the history of art. It is hard to know precisely why, except, perhaps, for the fact that we all recognize something of its truthfulness from within our own life experience. It is a picture that speaks of the alienating presence of the modern city. Several individuals – the nighthawks of the title – are gathered together in the brightly lit window of a downtown diner or cafe that spills its pale bluish light out into the street, casting a shadow on the pavement, yet barely holding a threatening inrush of darkness at bay. Beyond its reach, anything might be happening in the darkness. Psychologically speaking, these people are isolates, thrown together as a group, but also locked within themselves, prey to their own fears and fancies. It is a picture of city life in the small hours when an unnatural silence and an uncanny stillness take hold, tugging suggestively at the senses of hearing and vision.
For analysis of paintings
by American realists
like Hopper, see:
How to Appreciate Paintings.
Hopper was an acknowledged influence on the film musical Pennies from Heaven (1981), for which production designer Ken Adam recreated Nighthawks as a set.  Director Wim Wenders recreated Nighthawks as the set for a film-within-a-film in The End of Violence (1997).  Wenders suggested that Hopper’s paintings appeal to filmmakers because “You can always tell where the camera is.”  In Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), two characters visit a café resembling the diner in a scene that illustrates their solitude and despair.  The painting was also briefly used as a background for a scene in the animated film Heavy Traffic (1973) by director Ralph Bakshi. 
A number of model railroaders, most notably John Armstrong, have recreated the scene on their layouts. 
Jo’s handwritten notes about the painting give considerably more detail, including the interesting possibility that the painting’s evocative title may have had its origins as a reference to the beak-shaped nose of the man at the bar:
Starting shortly after their marriage in 1924, Edward Hopper and his wife, Josephine (Jo), kept a journal in which he would, using a pencil, make a sketch-drawing of each of his paintings, along with a precise description of certain technical details. Jo Hopper would then add additional information in which the themes of the painting are, to some degree, illuminated.
Jo Hopper, Edward Hopper’s wife, is the enigmatic red-haired woman seated at the counter. Not only did she model for the painting, but she also kept a detailed journal of each of Hopper’s works. Her role as Hopper’s personal art historian may have even inspired the name behind the painting, where she describes one of the men in the painting as a “night hawk (beak) in dark suit, steel grey hat, black band, blue shirt (clean) holding cigarette.”
The diner in Hopper’s painting was apparently based on a real establishment in Greenwich Village; however, disputes over its legitimacy continue to give rise to heated discussions. Although now a vacant site, the diner was said to have sat between two streets; Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South.
The sign above the cafe advertising cigars for $5 and the cash register seen in one of the windows outside suggest a kind of everyday American experience. The Nighthawks scene is silent and serene, further highlighting the intense feeling of isolation.
An important piece of Americana, the painting also has an ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia for an America of a time gone by. However, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper remains relevant even today as a subtle critique of the modern world, the world in which we all live, where an overwhelming sense of loneliness, and a deep desire, but ultimate inability, to connect with those around us prevails.