The night has many faces, but none more intriguing than that of Nyx, a Real Life Superhero who is active in and around the New York City and Northern New Jersey areas. Clad in black, with striped leggings and a distinctive red mask, Nyx sets out to do her patrols and homeless outreach in a mysterious, stealth-like manner. “Like the night, I cannot be proven or disproven to certain degrees; and also much like the night, when morning comes, there will be no trace of me.”
Nyx made her initial, tentative steps into the movement at 16, after considering it for many years (during which time she frequently changed her name—from “Hellcat” to “Felinity” to “Sphynx,” before setting on her present moniker—“I had a penchant for name changes,” she says, simply). A series of life-changing events came to provide her with a new perspective, and helped crystallize her goals. After discovering the active online Real Life Superhero community in 2006, and visiting New York to meet up with her online confidantes on her first patrol in March of 2007, the die was cast.
Contemplative and highly-intuitive, Nyx possesses a deep respect for any and all who are willing to step up, stand out and come to the aid and defense of those in need. Lessons she learned from her greatest hero, her mother. “Whenever I go looking for the best parts of myself, I always find her there. I want to live the life she never had. I live for her name.”
To that end, Nyx concentrates her efforts on behalf of those society has forgotten or worse yet, are made too uncomfortable to acknowledge, the homeless. “There’s a huge homeless population in New Jersey,” she says, “and I found I couldn’t just sit idly by.” Recognizing that poor people must often make hard choices between housing, food, child care, health care and education, she knew she had to act “Being poor means being an illness, an accident or a paycheck away from living on the streets,” she says, “and that makes the homeless easy targets on many levels.” Which is why she feels the strong need to protect these vulnerable individuals any way she can, from car patrols to foot patrols, to anonymous reporting to the city police department.
Nyx also recognizes that as a Real Life Superhero, she is part of a collective largely dominated by men, who, while acting on their best altruistic impulses, may also have a tendency to overlook and undervalue the efforts of their female counterparts. “We can do just as good a job,” she points out, “so it’s important to be viewed as a person, not just some chick.”
And she’d like to see more outreach to women, who she believes have much to offer the movement. “You have the power to shape your life, your life is your own. I take that to heart, knowing that I can own my life and make it good—and make it good for others as well.”