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Empire State of Mind

Empire State of Mind

Imogen West-Knights imagines what her life will be like when she moves to New York after all this is over, as someone who has never been to either New York or America.

1. I live in an astonishingly small ‘apartment’ which people are jealous of because it has a kitchen.

2. Out of the window of my apartment I can see either a red brick wall, or another apartment where an old couple live who yell stuff like ‘Marge? Where in the hell have you put my slacks?’

3. Their apartment costs about forty ‘dollars’ a month, due to ancient rental witchcraft.

4. My second home is the L Train, which is running in a way it shouldn’t be.

5. There’s always some dance troupe trying to make a viral video on my train, and I find this really annoying because I use up all my patience working five jobs.

6. You would often find me queuing up for a warm bagel with pastrami, which is my favourite kind of smoked or cured beef. I eat it while I walk down the street avoiding hot dog vendors and people filming The Avengers.

7. Some days, I barge into people on purpose though, because look, I have somewhere to be, you know? I’m walking here!

8. My ex-boyfriend is getting into improv.

9. I never see the sky, but I don’t care because the sky is for birds and Midwesterners, who are nice but deplorable somehow.

10. I am regularly getting shat on by said birds, and I’m like, ‘God damn it’ under my breath, before wiping it off with a half-completed New York Times crossword puzzle.

11. I go into a bodega and buy milk, and maybe like some deli meats and other things that are sold in bodegas.

12. There’s a cat that lives in the bodega and climbs all over the food, and I don’t see that as being a problem.

13. I don’t go to the supermarket because everything I need is sold in the bodega, or if it isn’t, I guess I just live on milk and deli meats.

14. At night I lean out of my window and stare at the brick or Marge’s front room, listening to police sirens far away and thinking about an off-Broadway show I saw about loneliness.

15. I’d run into someone I know from soul cycle on the corner of 45th and 8th, and I’d say ‘Hey man! Wow, I would not have expected to see you in whatever part of town this is!’

16. I’m really highly strung but also I say ‘hey, forget about it!’ constantly to my friends, who never have time to see me, which is fine because my five jobs are my friends now.

17. I can’t stand the city on the national holiday of Labour Day because the whole place is crawling with tourists looking for M&M World and the tower block from Die Hard, which is situated in New York City, America.

18. In the summer I avoid some part of the Village because boy, the smell down there in the heat, am I right? Forget about it!

19. I order ‘take-out’ up to four times a day.

20. I get this take-out through an app called Seamless, unless that’s some kind of clothing company.

21. I pick up a coffee from a diner, if those do ‘take-out’ coffees, and go back to my apartment to put some more things into storage i.e. my oven.

22. I speak actually kind of good Spanish.

23. I hail cabs in the rain to take me to dates with guys who have a podcast.

24. When I get home from my dates I kick back with a cronut and watch Ellen turned up loud to drown out the thudding through the ceiling because the super, my landlord or estate agent-type figure who lives in the building is doing his ballroom dancing practice.

25. I miss my ‘mom’, who is from the Midwest.

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