NYC literally lives for tourist.
I sometimes think that if Ray Kelly had to save me or a British visitor he would choose the later. The city doesn’t sleep and is always ready to show a visitor a good time not matter where they are from. This is ok with me because without the influx of foreign currency during these hard economic times NYC would be very different and maybe more like how I first remember seeing it. Times Square hasn’t always been all glittery and neon lit. The subway system has seen better days, taxi cabs are really ripping people off (so much they are getting caught now) and the tour bus people are even more aggressive Times Square, but crime is still low and people are still willing to shell out big money for a hotel, shows and plane tickets to get here.
Anyhow, it’s a great time to be a tourist in NYC and here are some reasons why:
Everything is on SALE
The Euro and the British Pound have seen better rates of exchange to the greenback, but it’s still a 35-50% discount…so buy 2 iPods not one and throw in a real designer handbag why get a bad fake. On top of that, there’s always a sale going on for us locals. I can’t remember paying full price for anything in the past year.
Don’t Speak the Language…. not a problem
The language barrier or lack of in most cases. It’s unusual to walk down a busy street in NYC and only hear people speaking english. If you are lost and need direction or just ask where a good place to eat is it just takes asking the concierge at your hotel or even a person on the street if they look approachable.
The Grid System
Easy to follow the streets….hard to get lost. The streets here were brilliantly reconfigured above Houston Street in the beginning of the 19th century. Something like this could have never been done today since the 2nd Ave. subway has been a big pain and it’s proven how hard it is to get people to cooperate but I’m not one who is looking to replace what can’t be replaced like a very cheap apartment. Finding where you need to go just takes a good sense of direction and the ability to count. The only confusing part is the avenues with names so it’s not foolproof. That’s the eastside for you. There is some thinking involved but it’s not that challenging. Just find a tall recognizable building like the Empire State or Chrysler Building and get your barrings from there.
The food here is nothing but choices and can fit any budget. It kills me that people even step foot into a McDonald’s and not a local diner or sandwich shop. Sure..it’s easy but you can’t tell me that you don’t have one where you come from. Pick up a Zagat guide, look on the internet or just ask your concierge and find out where to eat. There are places which will be just as cheap as the McDonald’s but you’ll actually get a fresh meal and most of all support a local guy.
Like I said…NYC loves Tourists and it’s literally turned into Disney World here since they have taken over Times Square. My only hope is that people who come to visit this great city go off the beaten paths of Broadway/Times Square and adventure out to places like Coney Island, take a picnic on Governor’s Island instead of Ellis Island, visit the Garner Museum instead of the MET and have a glass of wine at a small bistro in the lower east side instead of 9th ave in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s and easy path to get off of since it’s really not so beaten…it’s just where the locals are.