Bwog’s Westside Bureau Chief, Diana Clarke, imagines a dialogue between herself and her new Westside tee.
A recent trip downtown took me to the Westside on Fourteenth Street, where I were startled into new appreciation for the market by seeing it out of context (as it happens, you can only get 3 am grapes at the 110th St Westside). In particular, I noticed the now-ubiquitous I Love Westside Market t-shirts for sale. I’d seen them plenty, but never got around to buying one—has anyone? My mother always said staring was rude, though. So after months of staring, I said hello.
It’s great to finally meet you. How long have you been in the States?
I was sent up from Nicaragua with a bunch of buddies about six months ago, but I didn’t get out and see very much of this country until pretty recently. Turns out we’re not as popular as I’d hoped.
What do you mean? I’d have thought t-shirts were one of those things that never went out of style.
For all the black that people in Manhattan wear, it turns out that downtown, t-shirts are only for bridge and tunnel people—and college students. But c’mon, who doesn’t like to be fucking comfortable? I am 100% cotton, baby.
What about uptown—there’s a Westside right by Columbia, but it seems like nobody there is buying the shirts either!
I don’t get it. You all spend $6 over at Mel’s for a pint of beer, and half an hour later you have to buy another one. With us, you buy one and you’re set for life. But most of you still have undeveloped hippocampi, so I won’t fault you for failing to think long-term.
Fair enough. How’d you get out of there?
That’s what’s funny. The girl who bought me goes to Columbia. She just happened to be downtown, on her way to the subway—there’s a Westside right on 14th Street and Seventh Avenue—and she was going to be out of town all summer. I guess she got nostalgic. She almost left without me, but just as the cashier was about to ring her up she asked for a shirt! All the checkout girls kind of looked at her funny. One asked if she wanted to work there or something—what else would she want me for?
That had to be hard to hear.
They even wrapped me up in a bag, so she wouldn’t have to be seen carrying me. I guess it makes sense, though. Nobody wants to be reminded of their job when they’re just trying to live their life.
So what’s life like on the outside?
It’s been great! We’ve been to to D.C., Nashville, and Jackson. I just wish I weren’t so sweaty all the time.
I know, summer’s the worst! Is it you or her?
And will we be seeing you back in New York any time soon?
Absolutely. I’ve got some big plans. A t-shirt can really go places these days.