Here’s the ugly truth about New Yorkers that may be difficult for someone living in rural Iowa to comprehend: as exciting, glamorous as our city may seem, most New Yorkers rarely go to Broadway shows, galleries and museums. The paradox of living in a hot tourist destination is you find yourself constantly maneuvering your schedule so to avoid the people, places and things that initially brought you here.
Here’s a perfect example. I live a 5 minute walk from the 911 Memorial, but saw it for the first time about 18 months ago. Yet, I’ve given countless tourists directions on how to get to the site.
Many New Yorkers I know have what my friend refers to as “apartment pallor” as a result of staying holed up like a bat in their tiny rent controlled apartment. While I do have some color, I’m often a victim of my thinking, which often goes something like this:
“I’d love to see that Matisse exhibit at the MoMA…Hmmm…but Midtown is so crowded on weekends and the F train is constantly under construction…”
I equate it to living in Oahu. How often does the average Hawaiian go to the beach or a luau?
NYC & Company, New York’s tourism-marketing agency, forecasts more than 59 million people to visit the Big Apple this year. Most, I predict, will do more fun, interesting things in their five-day vacation than I have in my 30 years of residency.
But I’m changing that.
I got a membership to the Whitney, which, thankfully, is NOT in Midtown. I can bike there, if necessary. This winter I also took advantage of low theater ticket prices and saw STOMP and Chicago. Not surprising, I was pegged as a tourist.
While sitting at the bar next door to the Ambassador Theatre with my girlfriend and killing time before Chicago, the bartender asked: “Where you guys from?”