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I arrive in New York City at sunset. The sky looks like a creamsicle; muted ivory streaked with brilliant bolts of tangerine. Summer is coming to an end. You can always tell summer in the city is almost over by observing the teenagers. In early summer they’re feral; stinking up the subways with their briny stench, foaming at the mouth stalking Stanton street, clutching spiked seltzers with stubby fingers, asking strangers for drugs, dirty feet climbing over fences searching for a public pool to break into. By mid-summer, they’re slightly less rabid, they’ve procured their China Town fake IDs by now, so they’re cooly emulating the twenty-somethings they mock on TikTok but worship in real life, flirting with older men, licking the sugar rims off their lemon drop shots, surviving on slices of pizza, sleeping on the tattered up couches of losers too old to be hanging around high school clowns, confidently ordering cocktails—they almost look like grownups—except when it’s last call and the ugly fluorescent bar lights expose the crater-like pimples crisscrossing their chins—every city kid is cursed with acne come the month of July—months of sticky lip gloss kisses and toxic air conditioner drip drops and crushed up pills will ~wreak havoc~ on a young person’s complexion. By late August; they’re no longer wild dogs terrorizing alphabet city. They’re tired old dogs, sprawled limp limbs lounging over brownstone stoops, sleepy-eyes hazy and peaceful, lazily filing their nails and ashing into potted plants, bitching about the forthcoming winter but-oh-how they all secretly crave the stability of school. The sun glows vibrant orange and constricts smaller and smaller like the pupils of someone on too many opioids until it’s the size of a pin and then BAM it’s no longer with us. To the left is a hodge-podge of dilapidated warehouses marketed as luxurious lofts housing lucky tattooed twenty-somethings with parents wealthy enough to not only foot their six thousand dollars a month rent but also wealthy enough to serve as their dutiful guarantors (you have to make eighty times the annual rent to be a guarantor in New York—which means you need to prove that your yearly salary is well over half a million dollars per year).

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