“Let Me Tell You About New York City”: A Poem -The Toast

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Let me tell you about New York City.

The sidewalks are sort of like highways.
The people are sort of like cars.
We all say vroom as we walk.
We say it out loud instead of having conversations or thinking.
Vroom, we say, vroom.
We are busy people.

Let me tell you about New York City.

No one goes to Times Square. No one. Ugh.
Times Square is empty, silent.
Vines grow from the walls.
I don’t know what kind of vines. Like, viney ones.
A cloaked figure wanders Times Square, penduluming a censerful of white smoke out over the empty square, and no one sees, because no one is there, because no one goes to Times Square.

And that’s what New York City is like.

In New York, no one looks at celebrities.
We pretend they don’t exist.
We look through them.
They shout “help.”
They shout “help please I’m on fire.”
(Sometimes the celebrities are on fire.)
But we see that they are famous
and so we just act like they aren’t there.
We move out of the way so we don’t catch on fire too,
but other than that we act like they aren’t there.
Also homeless people, although they are only metaphorically on fire.

Real New Yorkers never eat at Grimaldi’s.
We never eat in Little Italy.
We never eat at chain restaurants.
We never eat at all.
Real New Yorkers consume nothing.

We don’t even have mouths here. Tourists are always walking around with mouths.
Fucking tourists.

In order to be a Real New Yorker you have to have been born here,
or moved here more than ten years ago,
or know the New York password (“Fievel”),
or inherit Real New Yorker status from an existing member who passes away.

No matter how you do it, of course we have to remove your mouth.
That mouth has got to go. We have smooth, featureless lower faces in New York.

No one in New York calls it “the Big Apple.”
We call it N’awlins.

It’s easy to find your way around Manhattan.
Just remember: every address and location in Manhattan.
Just remember every single possible place you could ever go in Manhattan.
Hold the entire island in your head.
See, it’s easy.

Let me tell you about New York City.

Every neighborhood has its reputation.

For instance, Midtown is where the Aerial Sects congregate, using the rope systems they’ve installed and the vines that grow in Times Square to swing from building to building because they believe that touching the ground is an insult to god and they are right.

The East Village used to be cool, but now it’s covered under several feet of gravel. No one goes there anymore, because of the gravel.

Williamsburg is, of course, entirely fictional. When tourists ask us Real New Yorkers how to get to Williamsburg, we laugh and laugh and tell them how to get to Neverland instead. Neverland is pretty fun, so the tourists don’t mind.

Staten Island? Staten Island is in Chicago. No, don’t worry. It’s a common mistake.

Let me tell you about New York City.
Please let me.
I want to tell you about this place I live.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Give You Advice.

Joseph Fink is one of the writers of Welcome to Night Vale.

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