Friday, April 8, 2011

Why I love NYC #2: Tourists

This is a controversial one.  Lots of New Yorkers absolutely abhor tourists.  Yeah, they walk too slow.  And yeah, they justify the existences of some of the worst abominations in the city, like Jekyll and Hyde or Times Square.  But I love 'em.

Tourists flock to the city that I have called home for years, and that just doesn't happen everywhere.  People from all over the world - families with children, young couples, old people, hard partying 20-somethings - want to see the sights and hear the sounds of New York City.  This place inspires the imagination because it is the biggest and the best in practically every category.  Even the fat midwesterner in his bad shorts and fanny pack got off his ass to see the big city, because New York is amazing.

And tourists remind me of travel, because they're doing the things I do when I'm in foreign cities: sight-seeing, people-watching and taking pictures.  They sip coffee in corner parks while the commuters flood past.  They stand in line to see famous paintings.  They hump miles and miles in a single day so as not to miss anything on their to-do lists.  They photograph the skyscrapers and the sports stadiums and the parks and all kinds of strange and wonderful items of interest just to them.  (Just this morning, an adorable young European couple asked me to take their picture in front of - I shit you not - a bus stop billboard.)

I'm proud of New York, I love New York and I love people who want to see the great things about New York.  So when a pack of Asian retirees is blocking the whole sidewalk, trying to find the Empire State Building which is all of one block away, I just step around.  I might laugh at them a little, but really, I'm glad they're here.

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