Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Falling into the tourist trap

I often carry my camera with me in New York. I take pictures for this blog and Facebook, and for the memories since we won't be here for ever. So I am, I suppose, a tourist of sorts. Which really bugs me.

I don't mind looking like a tourist in a town or village I would never live in. But here in exciting throbbing NYC? In my city of choice I want to blend right in.

Tourists are a tiresome, unsightly inconvenience. They are annoyingly slow, shuffling along the pavement gawping at stuff, stopping to look at maps or take photos of lame things. They clog up subway exits trying to figure out which way is which. They ruin the vibe of formerly authentic, atmospheric bars. They are the reason there are so very many shops selling 'I heart NY' memorabilia. They affront my eyes with their ostentatiously comfortable shoes and slogan t-shirts - usually State pride for Americans, and something about sex or beer for Brits. And those ginormous rucksacks the Euro crowd favour? It's like they're going on a 20 mile hike, not schlepping around Times Square.

Phew! Glad I got that off my chest.

Having said all that the tourists do provide a useful function for making the rest of us feel like proper New Yorkers. (Even those of us who only moved here a few weeks ago and still carry a camera most of the time.)

Some cases in point: that chump on the High Line who loudly insisted he was on the Sky Line. The silly lady who asked for directions to 35th Street, standing in clear sight of the 33rd and 34th Street signs.

And today, near Grand Central, I heard a woman say, with relish, 'Sam's Cafe... mmm-hmm, dontchya just  love the names of these places?'. I did a double take and could tell from the cut of her jib that she was not kidding. Maybe where she comes from cafes are called something, um, less cool.

Aren't they daft?! Way to make me feel smug though.

My wondertwin has just arrived for a vacation - but she's spent enough time in New York not to look remotely like a tourist. The same goes for a number of dear friends and family who are coming to see us over the next few months. I just hope I don't embarrass them by getting my camera out... I can't make any promises.

No comments:

Post a Comment