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Morning Spew

Escape From Manhattan West (a Totally Real Neighborhood)

Haha, but seriously, where is Manhattan West and how do I get down from here? And more ominous links for your week.

9:37 AM EDT on May 19, 2023

It was a dark and stormy mid-evening… (Hell Gate)

After hanging out by the Javits Center for a while on Tuesday, our reporter was wandering up and down 10th Avenue, looking for a place to refresh himself. Finding only the doorway of a convenience store, he was gulping down an iced tea, one of those square-bottled Pure Leaf joints, when suddenly, a startling voice to his right addressed him: "I'm trying to quit that stuff!" 

That voice came from a middle-aged white woman, who was peering through sunglasses and, seemingly, into his very soul. He looked around, but there was no one else she could be speaking to but him. 

"Tea?" he asked. 

"Caffeine, sugar," she replied. (Our reporter glanced at the bottle and the label that screamed its flavoring. The tea was unsweetened.)

The woman made a wordless sound and rode away on her scooter, leaving our reporter shaken. But his work for the day was not yet done: An interview that had been scheduled for noon had been postponed to that very moment, its subject warning that she had only half an hour until her yoga class began. Keen to enjoy some air conditioning, he hurried into the Whole Foods on West 33rd Street. As he took the escalator up to the second floor, he began his phone call, loitering through aisles of Bezosian food fare, eventually settling into a chair in the "eatery." 

A few minutes later, his interview over and his spirits lifted, he sought his exit from the Whole Foods. Turning left at the fish counter, he saw something that confused him: a door to the outside. 

Our reporter, you may remember, had entered the establishment at the street level, and had climbed to a higher floor. What could it mean that there was an exit up here? He had a bad feeling about this. Wary, but needing to quench his reporterly curiosity, he creeped toward the automatic sliding doors. What he saw next, he couldn't have imagined. 

Sprawling out before him was an entire promenade, with chairs that stretched as far he could see, and people in them and around them, going in and out of restaurants and stores, all an entire floor above the street. 

Baffled, he retrieved his cell phone and took a panoramic video. "Where am I?" he asked the Hell Gate Slack.

"You're in Manhattan West," his colleague replied, adding sardonically, "The world's coolest new neighborhood!" 

"I dunno guys, I've got a b-b-b-b-bad feeling about this," our reporter quaked, looking around at the icey, characterless environs. Suddenly, he saw what seemed to be a monstrous creature in the middle distance. It was a wormlike structure of blond wood, stretching from the Manhattan West promenade to the High Line in the distance, where a blood-red, leafless tree loomed above the city streets. "Yikes!" our reporter shrieked. "I gotta get out of here!"  

Looking to his right, he saw a glass-railed staircase that seemed to lead back to the normal world. Kicking up dust in his wake, he scurried down, believing himself safe. 

For now.

A few more ominous links to start your weekend…

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