New York: Tourists are welcome here

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John F
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New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by John F » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:45 pm

65 million of them - of you - every year. Come and see us!

I ♥ Tourism: Why the City Is Better When It’s Full of Annoying Visitors
By Justin Davidson
July 8, 2019

...New Yorkers fan out all over the world, and the people we encounter usually forgive us our numbers and cultural clumsiness. We generally do the same for them. New Yorkers long ago outgrew our reputation for dead-eyed hostility. We are, on the contrary, inveterate givers of advice.

A few years ago on a downtown 1 train, I watched an evidently flummoxed father and his two young daughters study the subway map. He finally gave up and asked me how to get to the Statue of Liberty. You don’t really want to do that, I thought, but I told him to get off at South Ferry. “You don’t really want to do that,” the woman sitting next to him interrupted. “You’ll wait forever, pay too much, and it’ll be sold out anyway. Take the Staten Island Ferry.” And then, in the time it took to cover five more stops, she jotted down a lower Manhattan itinerary perfect for two young girls, complete with the name of — and directions to — her favorite Chinatown noodle shop. The man was speechless with gratitude and relief.

Visitors are like New Yorkers: The only thing that unites them is the fact that they are here. They come from every part of the world, and for every reason: to visit family, attend a meeting, take a selfie, have an operation, scout out a new life, flee oppression — whatever. And, yes, in good weather it can seem as though every one of those privileged and desperate passers-through is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

But tourists do more for New York than just spend money and support jobs for hotel housekeepers; they also help shape the city’s culture. A 2018 report by the Center for an Urban Future outlines the effects that a constant infusion of new audiences has on everything Fran Lebowitz claims to cherish. If arts institutions had to survive on locals’ loyalty alone, MoMA wouldn’t be adding yet another new wing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art wouldn’t be open seven days a week, theaters would go dark, and opera would cease to exist. That cute antiques store on your block that you hope won’t get gentrified out of existence? Chances are a quarter of its clientele lives abroad.

Tourism doesn’t just spawn museum blockbusters and glitzy spectacles; it also gives cultural institutions the leeway they need to carry out the less glamorous parts of their missions. Carnegie Hall peppers the boroughs with neighborhood concerts; the Met mounts quiet shows on rarefied topics; Central Park distributes horticultural wisdom and management advice through its Institute for Urban Parks — and all this activity is fueled by the same people who drive us crazy shuffling in groups along midtown sidewalks without even leaving a passing lane. Many smaller organizations get few out-of-town ticket buyers, but New York’s cultural world is a vast interlinked ecosystem. If the Department of Cultural Affairs can distribute $44 million to nearly 1,000 organizations in all five boroughs — many of them tiny, local, and perpetually struggling — it’s partly because tourists are taking care of the city’s expensive behemoths.

Visitors bring word back home, and the city they describe is the virtual opposite of the snarling, fearful, and battened-down America that the current administration advertises abroad. Television viewers all over the world can stay at home and see that the U.S. government packs asylum seekers into camps and cages children; visitors to New York see a place where half a dozen languages mingle easily on a single block, without threatening social breakdown. The president can say that the largest cities are suddenly so full of “filth” that “police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat,” but 65 million tourists a year go home to tell their friends and neighbors it’s not true.

(Tourism can be an unflattering mirror, too, and a prod for the city to up its game. Homelessness is a badge of shame. Our transit system is creaky. Crossing the street can be lethal. Even if state and city government tried to fix these deficiencies only out of embarrassment rather than a genuine sense of injustice, we would all be better off.)

All over the world, visitors tend to cluster—in Piazza San Marco, at Old Faithful, or in Times Square. But as the city has evolved, so have patterns of tourism, and the more curious and venturesome can help us get to know our city better. I have never felt so connected to New York as when I approach it like a visitor, ambling, gawping, wondering why it is the way it is and how it got that way. (I even wrote a book about the experience.) Locals tend to stick to their own cow paths, trudging from home to work and back, on weekends ranging a little farther for a party or a drink. So there’s an invigorating joy in striking out for a neighborhood you think you know but haven’t actually been to in years, or stopping by a house museum whose existence you were only dimly aware of. These expeditions remind us that we are guests here too, temporary residents in a city that doesn’t much care where we came from or how long we stay.

We are here because it’s where we were born, or because we never got around to leaving, or because it’s the sort of place where we can live however we like, in the company of others who are doing the same. But that doesn’t give us a monopoly on what New York means. The character of a great city is defined as much by the people who pass through as by its fixtures. The urban spectacle needs a fresh audience every night.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/ ... itors.html
John Francis

lennygoran
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:58 am

John F wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:45 pm
65 million of them - of you - every year. Come and see us!

I ♥ Tourism: Why the City Is Better When It’s Full of Annoying Visitors
By Justin Davidson
July 8, 2019
What about people from NJ-are we welcome too? Regards, Len :lol: :lol: :lol:

John F
Posts: 20810
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by John F » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:42 am

Only with a passport.
John Francis

barney
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Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by barney » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:41 pm

Quite right, John. In fact I hear Manhattan is going to require a passport to enter from Brooklyn!
As I've said many times, I think New York is a fantastic city. I wouldn't want to be poor there, though (or any big city for that matter).

lennygoran
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
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Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:22 am

John F wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:42 am
Only with a passport.
Great, we're good to go-just got them renewed a few years ago! Regards, Len :D

John F
Posts: 20810
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by John F » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:09 pm

barney wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:41 pm
I wouldn't want to be poor there, though (or any big city for that matter).
I wouldn't want to be poor, period. Still, at last count 1.7 million New Yorkers are living in poverty. You just don't see them in the parts of town that tourists go to.
John Francis

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by barney » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:40 pm

No, not the ones that are struggling but sort of holding it together. But the rung below were visible. For example, there were always beggars at the Port Authority. I admired them because they didn't just sit there but did things like open the door for people. Obviously they were hoping for a quarter or two, and I gave it to them.

lennygoran
Posts: 14899
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: New York: Tourists are welcome here

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:36 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:40 pm
there were always beggars at the Port Authority. I admired them because they didn't just sit there but did things like open the door for people.
Barney that's how we get into NYC these days-the Port Authority--we take the NJ Transit 320 bus from Secaucus to the Port Authority-we see people like you describe. Regards, Len

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