Ah, spring! Finally, warm weather is starting to return to the city. Okay, if not warm weather (Hello, 29 degrees, I’m looking at you!), at least more sunshine…and, with it, unfortunately, comes the obligatory rise in the number of tourists.
The one good thing about winter in Manhattan, is that it’s all but deserted. You can make your way around without bumping into a billion people with their cameras, standing stock still in the middle of the sidewalk. Yes, even Times Square isn’t that bad in January. It feels like “my city,” like home, like some place where I go to work, buy my groceries, and gripe about my bills. Not that I begrudge NYC its tourist revenue, because I don’t. It’s nice that people come here and spend their money. Brilliant for the local economy. It’s just annoying for the local residents to boot.
So, yeah, kvetching about the tourist population is sort of the natural right of a New Yorker. It’s what we do: roll our eyes at the people who don’t pass to the right, giggle at people who don’t know their way around, and mutter under our breath whenever possible. Actually, above our breath whenever possible, too. (overheardinnewyork anyone?)
But I witnessed a rather amusing moment of anti-tourist, or perhaps Manhattan-centric, snobbery last night. Picture it, a group of four, upwardly mobile friends in their late 20s-early 30s standing around complaining about the ridiculous line at the Times Square Applebee’s. “I can’t believe it,” eyerolled the lone girl in the group. “Why, when you have so many options in Manhattan, would you go to an…*ugh* Applebee’s?”
Some clucking and commiserating and obligatory “tourists!” sneering followed.
This conversation took place in the cramped Dave & Buster’s gift shop.
Let he who is not patronizing a national chain cast the first stone! I’m pretty sure that when you’re in a place that’s basically Chuck-E-Cheese for grownups, standing in front of a display of shot glasses and giving a withering look to the girl who is actually trying to look at the merchandise, you lose any right to criticize whoever might be going to an Applebee’s.
Ten to one they live in Williamsburg.
And, yes, I rather happily ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s last night AND went to Dave & Buster’s. That, my friends, was a damn good night in New York City. You don’t have to be a tourist to appreciate a little familiarity and family fun.