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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pizzas, Pedicures and Plane Tickets at 3 a.m.

For MTA late-night shopper taking full advantage of the small nighttime crowds and relaxing with a book at the 24-hour Bookberry location on Nikitsky Bulvar.
Olga Lisova spends all day applying lipstick, foundation and fake eyelashes to television stars. So when does she find time to take care of her own freckled face?

"The only way is to use my sleep time," the petite, 23-year-old makeup artist explained while waiting her turn at Moi Parizh, a beauty salon in the city center, at 1 a.m. on a recent weeknight.

Irina Mamedova, the receptionist at Moi Parizh, or My Paris, said: "We can't possibly squeeze in all the requests for appointments we get." In the past 20 minutes, Marmedova said, she's turned away three customers hoping to get a fake tan, lose some cellulite, take care of their fingernails or toenails or get their hair trimmed.

Moi Parizh is part of Moscow's growing nighttime economy, a vibrant marketplace of supermarkets, book stores, laundromats, dentists' offices, pizza parlors, ticket kiosks and everything else money can buy.

The round-the-clock service stands out because it includes not only the typical late-night entertainment sector -- which Moscow, with its surfeit of bars and clubs, seems to have mastered -- but numerous normally daytime businesses.

While there are no precise figures, Yevgeny Dukov, a nighttime economy expert at the Art History Institute, says about 5 percent of city residents -- mostly from the city's burgeoning haute bourgeoisie -- prefer shopping after dark.

Dukov, who recently wrote a study of Moscow's nighttime economy entitled "From Sunset to Sunrise: Night as a Cultural Phenomenon," noted that, as the megalopolis has become more unlivable, shopping at night has become more popular. With the daytime congestion on city streets and hordes of commuters clogging the metro, the time needed to run errands has become unmanageable for many.

So businessmen like Arkady Fedotov, for whom time is money, do their browsing in the wee hours. At 2 a.m., Fedotov, a self-described entrepreneur decked out in an impeccable chalk-striped suit, was wandering through the aisles of the Bookberry on Nikitsky Bulvar, between Arbat and Tverskaya. Other avid readers paged through bestsellers, dictionaries, magazines and travel guides; the brown armchairs where customers like to curl up with books were filled.

"This is the best time to go shopping in Moscow," Fedotov said, glancing at a book on impressionist painters. "There aren't too many people around nudging you, and you can find a seat and concentrate on what books you want to buy."

Daniela Novak, a sales clerk at Bookberry, said the 1:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. window was especially busy. "Many people literally spend the night here," Novak said. "Some of them come to write essays or study. Many of them buy a lot of books."

What about sleep? For now, the nighttime economy appears to be drawing people with flexible or unusual work hours such as Fedotov. "I'm self-employed," he said. "I'll go to work at noon tomorrow."

Still, late-night commerce appears to be booming. The web site www.moskva24.ru, which allows night owls to click their way to hundreds of fitness clubs, drugstores, banyas, movie theaters and other all-night venues, attracts 30,000 people monthly.

"Demand for 24-hour service is growing more and more," said Alexei Bogachyov, one of the architects of the web site.

Maria Rubtsova, the manager of Transpizza, said the 24-hour pizza parlor made 30 percent of its sales when it was dark out. Azbuka Vkusa, the high-end grocery store chain that is open around the clock, opened its first store in 1997; today, there are 12 stores in the Moscow area. Dolgoprudny Lada tends to 20 cars every night, manager Anastasia Drozdova said. Shokoladnitsa, the rapidly growing chain of coffee houses, is a staple of all-night life in Moscow.

Twenty-four-hour commerce is not limited to the city center. At the seven Metro superstores scattered throughout the greater Moscow area, shoppers can find almost anything at anytime. Alexei Frolov, 25, an office manager, said he had little time during the day to take care of his errands. At night, he said, he can buy anything he needs in less than an hour. "Supermarkets are crazy from 10 in the morning to midnight in this city," Frolov said while loading groceries in a Metro parking lot.

Some businesses report that, for now, staying open all night is not profitable. Sergei Goncharenko, commercial director of Samolyot, a travel agency that delivers tickets 24 hours a day, said the agency sold about 40 tickets per night, well below the daytime average.

But he added that there was a certain prestige that came from being open all night, particularly in business circles. "You know how things work in Moscow," Goncharenko said. "People get to work at lunchtime. They have their meetings in the evening, and then they find out they have to fly to Amsterdam the next day."

Back at Bookberry, Fedotov, the nocturnal entrepreneur, waxed philosophical about roaming through wide-open aisles,

Dragging his hands through his thick black hair, Fedotov stared out the big shop window and said: "I love it. Nobody is around. Nights have something magic, maybe because this is the time that you can fully devote to yourself."