New York Doesn’t Heart You Back

My first response upon seeing this headline:

Went a little something like this:

In case you didn’t know this from reading my blog, tourists are awful, awful people.  They treat locals rudely, and treat the city like Disneyland.  Excuse me, but this is a real-life place, not some made-up Narnia.  Stopping in the middle of the street to take pictures is not okay.Why does NY Not Heart Tourists?

TOURISTS complain loudly when anything takes longer than five minutes.  In case you were wondering, everything does.  Things worth doing will take MUCH longer.  Yes, the subway can take upwards of hours.  Yes, if you don’t have a reservation, it will take 1.5 – 3 hours to seat your party.  Yes, there is a line for the bathroom.  You know what makes the waiting worse?  Your self-entitled huffing and whinging.  Oh wait, NOT.

TOURISTS are afraid to ride the subway, for some inexplicable reason (I’ve ridden the Amsterdam trolley, Roman buses and Parisian Metro, and not speaking any of those languages I can tell you, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS NOT HARD). 

TOURISTS can’t understand why everything is so expensive (higher overhead = higher prices = higher wages = pays my bills so I can listen to your whining, jackass). 

TOURISTS WALK SLOWER THAN ROMERO-ERA ZOMBIES.  Seriously, PICK UP YOUR FEET.  Or at least walk single-file.  It’s my morning commute, not flippin’ Red Rover.

TOURISTS glorify the dumbest part of the city – okay, Times Square is exciting like, the first time.  I can even forgive the line around the block to get into Hollister on Fifth Avenue, because it’s kind of funny in a tragic way.  But 9/11 was a scary and sad thing, the ramifications of which we have to live with EVERY DAY, and your souvenir hoodies and rubber bracelets from the 9/11 Memorial remind us of that, so thanks for bringing it up.  Maybe we should go to your hometown and photograph fatal car accidents, screen print the onto T-shirts, and wear them around all the time.

TOURISTS don’t do any research.  I once had an otherwise lovely Texan couple ask me what “That there buildin’ was.”  If you can’t identify the Empire State Building in the age of Still Photography and The Internet and after TWO King Kong movies, you might be a tourist.  Other amazing questions:  “How do we walk to the Statue of Liberty?”  Well, I hope you have a wetsuit, because it’s on a freaking island!  And the lament:  “I didn’t know you guys were closing/we needed a reservation!”  CALL AHEAD.  I call every place I ever to go ever, just to make sure I’m not walking into a disappointment.  “We came all the way from _____” is not an excuse for not doing your prep work.  I’m sure they have phones in _____, you could have called to check.  Jackass.

There is a distinct difference between a tourist and a visitor. 

VISITORS ask for recommendations and listen.  Say you want to walk from the Upper East Side to Chinatown — a mere seven miles.  But it’s a quicker trip if you take the subway.  Trust me.  I’m happy to give you directions or recommend a restaurant for your family.  But please, ask nicely, for it is a kindness I am happy to bestow from the goodness of my heart, and not something you are owed simply because you “came all the way from _____.”

VISITORS venture out of Times Square.  And not just to the 9/11 Memorial.  Shudder.  They use their maps (free everywhere!) or smart phones (you already have it!) to find their way around and they do it discreetly and not, ahem, in the middle of the sidewalk.

VISITORS have peripheral vision.  They aren’t stumbling around unaware of others in their path, they move to the side on escalators, and navigate crowds like something a little more refined than a charging bull.

to the city grasp the
concept that New Yorkers are just like Minnesotans and Pennsylvanians
and French and Dutch and everyone else:  we just happen to live in New
York.  Which, as fans of the TV show Girls know, just automatically makes us more interesting.  That’s all.

7 responses to “New York Doesn’t Heart You Back”

  1. Word.

    I've visited NYC twice and fell in love. We did some of the typical stuff (ferry around Manhattan, Strawberry Fields, Tavern on the Green, Times Square, museums, etc etc), but my favorite memories, by far, are of exploring the neighborhoods. Just strolling along, eating at the local haunts, taking the subway *gasp*, and trying to soak up the city.

    I'd like to think I'm a good visitor… I take a shit ton of photos, but I'm aware of my surroundings and try to stay out of the way, do my best to memorize the area (thanks maps!) before leaving the hotel/apartment, and try to support local spots over chains.

    Maybe that's why I've had AMAZING experiences…

    • RE: Memorizing maps…it's mostly a GRID! I can understand having a hard time navigating south of Greenwich Village, or in the other boroughs, but for the most part, IT'S A GRID. If Pac-Man doesn't get lost, NEITHER WILL YOU.

      And if you need pointing up/downtown, east or west, just ask the first person you see and they'll be happy to tell you. I still do this sometimes, and I've lived here for five years. Everyone gets confused sometimes. The trick is to try to play it off like you're drunk.

    • Oh no! I tried so desperately hard not to be a "tourist" in Paris, but I don't speak any French at all! I'm afraid I relied on smiles and helpless hand signal flailing to communicate my needs for cheese and chocolate most of the time. I'm certain I was a terrible cliche!

  2. This is hilarious. I went to NYC for the first time last year for my bachelorette party – mostly so that we wouldn't see the same people we went to high school with if we went out in Boston. Some of the girls I went with knew New York pretty well and wouldn't let anyone be tourists and thank God for that! We only went out to eat, shopped, and went to bars at night. I had no clue where I was most of the time but the people standing in the middle of the street taking a picture still really annoyed me.

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