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Friday, August 30, 2013

No, I'm not rude - you are......

...a respectful response to John Skylar's article:


I read this article yesterday, and was initially taken aback by what I perceived as its smug arrogance. Then I though I'd put it aside for a little while, in case I was jumping to an incorrect conclusion.

But you know what?  Its tone smacks of the arrogance that those of us living in less massive cities (where apparently our time is somehow less precious than that of those who live in New York) often associate with New Yorkers - particularly Manhattanites. As if, by dint of living there, New Yorkers achieve some sort of superior status over those of us who choose not to.

[Now, I know several people who live in New York, and this is not aimed at any one person, but is rather a perception that New York has given the rest of the Country - at least to those of us who live out here in District 13]

Don't misunderstand me, I believe that New York is an amazing city, with every "thing" imaginable there.  This why tourists want to come to New York (at least to the Times Square area!).  To see the stuff, and to do the things. Many of us hayseeds do look up at the tall buildings, and maybe stop inappropriately in the middle of the street while you are scurrying to your oh so important work-sites.

Would you rather we not come to your city? Sorry, we're coming whether you like it or not - and you know what?  There are a lot of us who do what we can to not get in your way.  At the same time, I have no problem bringing my hard earned (yet slightly less cosmopolitan) dollars and inserting them into your economy. I would think that you might enjoy those dollars being there.  We certainly appreciate it when you visit us and spend your money on our second rate offerings - we accept them a lot more politely as well.

This isn't a case of  "tourists and social malefactors stopping in the middle of sidewalks", as you so kindly put it.  This is your Important City. Build an infrastructure that can handle your citizens as well as the bumpkins that visit. Your City is one that that we wide-eyed tourists want to see - deal with it.

But don't worry - this over-inflated sense of importance is not unique to New York.  I remember being in San Francisco (around Union Square) with my wife and daughters.  My wife was taking a picture of the girls at one of the City provided photo ops, and inadvertently got in the way of a Very Busy Person.  My wife moved out of the way, of course - she is polite, after all - but we still heard the lady mutter "Tourists" with scorn and derision. Had I been a less polite person, I might have muttered back something along the lines of  "Bitch! Who is on vacation, and who is on her lunch break?".  Of course I didn't, because I'm not rude.

Mr. Skylar - I did get your point.  It can become annoying when you're rushing around, doing your daily thing, and constantly find yourself impeded by clueless tourists - and yes it behooves travelers to do their best to not disrupt, but sometimes we get in the way. Perhaps you shouldn't live in such a great city.

Tell you what, come to Chattanooga.  I'll show you around. It's a pretty neat city - doesn't have all that New York has, but still it's a pretty nice place - I promise that I won't judge you if you talk faster or walk faster than I do.  You see, I understand that that doesn't make you inferior to me.


  1. Very well put.
    I've lived in NYC (living in the Bronx, work Manhattan) for over four years now.
    I'd just like to agree with you here and add toss in my thoughts.
    I am not immune to flares of frustration when a family of sun-reddened tourists stops in my way as I am rushing to work, but I understand why they stopped and cannot hate them for it. 4 years of near-constant exposure to the grandness of this city and I still occasionally am stopped by some view, etc.
    My gripe is not with the tourists being in my way (I just avoid Times Square unless I am willing to wiggle through that crush of bodies).
    My gripe is with the unwillingness of the city leaders to step up and say that the infrastructure (much of it is nearly or over 100 years old) needs to be overhauled. The expense would be enough to require at least a modest tax increase and that would probably be political suicide for the politician suggesting it.
    You are correct, it is up to us, the New Yorkers, to accomodate the tourists that we are dependent upon.

  2. Thanks for that - because of your response, I won't wear black socks and wingtips with shorts on my next visit :)