Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
I win the lottery and can afford to buy the brownstone where I once lived in a dungeon—er, “garden apartment.” Because the neighborhood’s changed so much, the building costs a fortune, but this time, no one mugs me at gunpoint or breaks into my home like they did when I first lived there. I also buy a fully restored vintage truck, always find a parking spot on my block, and can parallel park perfectly on the first try.
Red Hook, Brooklyn
I discover an investment account I had forgotten about, which has become wildly profitable. I can buy a building and don’t need to worry about the lack of subway service since I don’t need to commute to a job. I often ride my bike to that pier where the views of the Statue of Liberty are unbelievably good, and eat lots of key lime pie made by a longtime neighborhood resident. I become a regular at a bar with a great vibe and plenty of places to sit. The bartender knows me by name and pours me my usual as soon as I walk in. Eventually, he names a cocktail after me. I never get hangovers.
Upper West Side, Manhattan
I write a book as charming as a Nora Ephron novel and get a six-figure advance, then the book goes on to be a blockbuster best seller, and I receive a ton of royalties. It also gets optioned and becomes a wildly successful Netflix series. I find a cute, spacious condo (not a co-op) with reasonable maintenance fees and shop at Zabar’s every week. I eat a ridiculous amount of bagels, but my pants still fit.
Westchester, New York
I have a good job that pays well but isn’t too strenuous and also lets me take plenty of days off. I am able to find a house with lots of closets, and the property taxes are less than $20,000 a year. Commuting to the city is easy, and the trains are always on time. I catch up on every podcast episode I’ve ever wanted to listen to during my train rides. When I get home, someone has already cooked dinner.
Hudson, New York
The album I recorded years ago that no one listened to suddenly becomes a smash hit (with no additional effort required from me), and I make gobs of money from it because everyone purchases it on vinyl (not streaming). I find an adorable house in a neighborhood where the school district is actually good. I purchase that Eames chair I’ve always wanted, and it looks great in my living room. The house has many windows that let in lots of sunlight, but the heating and cooling costs are not too bad. I eat at farm-to-table restaurants every weekend without needing to make reservations. I become best friends with Melissa Auf der Maur.
After inheriting a large sum of money from a previously unknown, childless distant relative who I didn’t know and therefore don’t grieve, I find a lovely house built in the late 1800s with original wood floors in great condition. It’s within walking distance of an amazing coffee shop. I drink gallons of coffee, but it never bothers my stomach.
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Despite having no prior interest in or ability to understand finance, I get a job working in finance and make a disgusting, horrible, obscene amount of money. In addition to already owning my condo on the Upper West Side, I buy a summer house right on Lake Winnipesaukee. It looks just like the house in the movie What About Bob? I buy a large boat and frequently take it out on the lake, and I know exactly what I’m doing. I wear a bucket hat that looks fantastic on me, and I never get sunburned.
London, United Kingdom
I can easily convert pounds to dollars in my head without needing to look up the conversion rate, although I don’t have to worry about it, because I have inherited wealth. I find a gorgeous home in Notting Hill that’s close to everything, but the street I live on is not too noisy or crowded. I drink tea and eat scones every single day. My children develop accents that are cute but not pretentious.
Long Beach Island, New Jersey
I travel back in time to an era when the houses on LBI were affordable, even for middle-class families where only one person had a job. I purchase a house, then I time-travel back to the present day. I don’t even have to rent the house out at all to be able to afford to keep and maintain it. I eat so much shellfish that I get gout, but it’s worth it.
Italy (somewhere in the Tuscan countryside)
I quit my job and travel throughout Italy. The money magically never runs out, and neither does the pasta. Then someone with a villa just gives it to me because they like the look of my face, which is covered with a delectable, rustic pasta sauce that I learned to make from a local who insists I call her “Nonna.” My pants still fit.
I invent some kind of awesome thing that everyone wants, and I become a billionaire. I buy a house in Hawaii and fly there on my private jet. I feel guilty about the carbon emissions from the private jet, so I donate a bunch of money to some environmental cause to assuage my guilt. I donate so much they name a small conference room after me and give me a pair of free socks. When I swim in the ocean, I know there are sharks, but I also know with 100 percent certainty that none will bite me. That’s actually the awesome thing I invented, don’t ask me how it works.
I can speak more than six words of French and am no longer lactose intolerant. I am wildly rich after marrying a wealthy Frenchman (even though I loved my husband, he died, and his last wish was that I would find love again, preferably with a wealthy Frenchman). I develop an impeccable fashion sense. All my clothes fit me perfectly without me needing to try them on before buying them. Pierre and I purchase an apartment in the best arrondissement in Paris. I eat cheese and croissants constantly, and my pants still fit.
San Francisco, California
I can afford to live here.