Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome to New York. Now Go Home.

Like most New Yorkers, I have little patience for tourists, though I am always polite and provide good directions when asked (oddly, I'm often asked for guidance when visiting other cities, so I must give the illusion of knowing where I'm going).

I have higher tolerance for European visitors than for my fellow Americans, possibly because the Europeans generally seem like city people who understand the unwritten rules of sidewalk traffic and can navigate a subway, while my compatriots manifest as lumbering bumpkins in bad t-shirts who like to walk four abreast, excruciatingly slowly, while pointing at the buildings above them.

The latter are relatively easy to avoid because they insist on not only staying in Times Square, but also hanging around there, possibly because Manhattan is well-known for not having many restaurants besides McDonalds and Starbucks. And also because someone has to visit Madame Tussaud's and Ripley's, and that someone is certainly not me.

I do like seeing tourists visiting "my" park, which for variety, landscaping and integration into the city beats every city park I've been in hands down, including the Bois de Boulogne and Golden Gate Park too, though the Pacific and the bison are unmatchable.

And I'm glad that the Times now offers a regular "Weekend in New York" feature in its travel section, though I suspect that many Neoyorquinos look at it for tips we can share, thus fulfilling our obligation to sound like we know everything. This piece, in print this coming Sunday, is about what to do if you get up early on weekends, including many Central Park options.

As long as you don't stand on the sidewalk below my apartment loudly discussing what those options are at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

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