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To reach Left New York, you must go to Broadway, and stand at one of the intersections that cross the grid. Then, you must Step left.

There are two ways to do this. One way is to know exactly the right way to place your feet, the proper mental state, and the right incantation with the right pronunciation. Only the idle, the rich, the beggars, and the occasional shaman have enough spare time to learn this.

The other way is to have a Grenovian dollar in your hand and a wish on your lips, and shuffle left. That does the trick.

 

You will know it works when everything seems to wobble and the sky becomes more yellow. Everyone around you will disappear, one by one, and be replaced by beings with massive amounts of black nose hair, or antlers, or fangs, or horns, or just glowing eyes. There are as many magical beings in Left New York as there are immigrants in regular new York. They are the ones who have fled to this safe(er) location, facing violence from native beings. The German elves, for example, were chased out of the Center by gangs of Irish fae. Their populations come and go, as they slowly assimilate into native culture, and they are welcomed into the city Center. The Dybbuks, for example, came over with the Jewish immigrants and terrorized the Left, but mellowed out as Judaism became one of the central aspects of NYC. Most of the Dybbuks have moved to Queens and the Bronx.

Watch out for the folks who look entirely human, here in the Left. They’re either extremely dangerous and sly, or they are sorcerors. Have an extra Grenovian dollar on you and a wish ready so you can purchase protection from the Chinese Temple Lions, the Komainu as soon as you arrive. They will guide you. You will look even more like a tourist, but it’s better than being nabbed by an elf or falling into a pit of darkness.

Or running into a herd of feral Unicorns. These are descended from a population that gored their Polish handlers in the early 1900s and rampaged through the city. The city managed to banish them to Left New York. Do not approach them if you see them. The Komainu do not like to guard complete idiots. Approaching a Unicorn is a good way to find your Dollar back in your hand and a sudden lack of escort.

Look out for remaining Dybbuks as well. The ones left in Left New York are the hardcore type, who refused to change. They're the best place to go to hear Yiddish spoken as a first language, but you might want to do it from a distance. These Dybbuks have no taboos about posessing people.

 

Central Park, in this realm, exists mostly as the Ramble. It is the kind of forest that will deliberately mislead you, so bring a guide unless you seek to be lost. many do come to Left Central Park to lose themselves in the woods, becaue they owe too much to loan sharks or Student Loans. Their existence is wretched and doesn’t usually last long, because the forest does not mislead the unicorns. Make sure you have a guide. They will appear if you have spoken to an old beggar in Midtown before you arrive. Doesn't matter which old beggar. They just like to be acknowledged.

The trains in Left new York run exactly on time. They also require you to listen to a selection of Entertainment in every car. Prepare yourself by listening to Bill Cosby’s discussion of the matter. He knew.

There is no train from Left Brooklyn to Left Queens.

 

Even when you have a guardian Temple Lion, watch yourself. The place went to hell in the 1980s and only recovered recently. It’s a very sad story.

See, despair had been building in the city ever since the end of the 1960s. What with rising crime, near-bankruptcy, graffiti everywhere, drugs, blackouts, and economic stagnation, the city was a mess. In Left new York, this translated to a huge amount of necromantic energy, far more than what had existed even during Prohibition. The only person who knew how to hold it back was the Big Chief. But the stress was getting to him. Having to move locations to the World Trade Center in the 1970s was even more stress. You think your move to a new office was stressful? Try doing it while concentrating on keeping the entire city alive.

And then AIDS hit. And it hit hard. Big Chief was completely blindsided. He blamed himself for being unable to convince the human authorities that they needed to help. In his despair, he stood upon the top of his tower and turned to stone. The lights of the Empire State Building went out. The gates opened, and the death-magic was left to ravage the city.

Everyone who didn’t become Corpsified immediately had to hole up in their neighborhoods and defend the barricades. The Komainu were no longer enough protection, because most of the Unicorns got Corpsified. This caused all inter-city travel to screech to a halt. Neighborhoods became islands between streets roamed by Corpse Unicorns and Ghoul Elves. Left New York ceased to be a city, and turned into an urban nightmare. Dybbuks and Duppies multiplied like flies and rode the unicorns and played Polo with the heads of ghouls. That, at least, was exciting to watch. Plenty of Grenovian dollars changed hands then, to the extend that certian neighborhoods started to depend economically on the outcomes of the games. But you couldn't actually join the games, or else your head would become the ball.

With the loss of the roads for travel, many basic city services were also lost. Pothole repair, trash pickup, streetlight repair, etc, all gone. Everything became a mess, in the neighborhoods where cleanup and repair were not well-organized. There were some places where you could not move for trash. People started to fling their garbage into the main roads. That stopped pretty quickly when the Duppies made their displeasure known. (The wailing and the sobbing were loud that day.)

And some neighborhoods just up and vanished, replaced by yawning pits. These roughly corresponded to neighborhoods that HIV  and Crack cocaine had depopulated.

This nightmare landscape continued long after NYC recovered from the crime epidemic and actually tried to treat and prevent AIDS. Big Chief remained a statue. A shaman and a bunch of sorcerors had to battle their way to the top of the Empire State Building to convince him to come back and unify the ciy.

There are a few Corpse Unicorns and Ghoul Elves left, and lingering suspicion. It’s not like the old days when the shops were open all night and the music rang on every corner. When you go to Left new York, you can’t help but feel that something is missing. The corner music is quieter and slower. The shops have metal shutters that close at 11 PM. Nobody talks about the place being On The Make anymore, but they say a lot about how they're glad it still exists. All of the good old American Optimism is gone. What remains is a political structure more strongly based on neighborhoods than ever before, and a tough, brutal nature born out of years of terror. The bosses of the neighborhoods became ward bosses and sit where they always have, on top of the heap. At least it's not a heap of trash this time.

 

Now, getting back from Left New York is easy. You just have to make your way to the center of the Ramble and Step right. You will wind up in the Little Prince café. Sit down and have a bite to eat and congratulate yourself on your survival.

Also – don’t ever Step left from the center of Left Central Park. The only people who’ve come back from that are Jackson Pollock and a few other artists.

Happy travels! Be sure to bring back a unicorn horn for me.

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