I am a pretty vehement hater of tourists in NYC, especially in the summer. Everything is crowded, it’s muggy, and there is truly no good reason to stop and stare at every single building in the city. I’m admittedly more than a little jaded about the whole thing, but still.
The good news is that now it’s barely spring, which means that it’s raining and gross and cold in the city. There are still tourists, but they’re all busy taking pictures of blank canvasses at the MoMA or eating dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets at the Museum of Natural History. Central Park is still some weird brownish-grey color, Williamsburg still shows its hipster colors, and well, I’ll still never go to Times Square.
The Austrian was visiting this past week, and while I still fully refuse to go through the doors of any museum known for chicken wire sculptures and textured blank canvasses, I did get to hit up a few places that I actually haven’t been to before, including Top of the Rock and the Brooklyn Flea Market in Williamsburg.
I also got dragged out to a Mets game, because what’s a week in NYC without some sadism? We took a walk on the High Line, got trapped in a guitar store with a bomb threat on 14th street, The Austrian discovered that he might not have a future with the banjo, and we probably drank enough coffee to fuel a plane. Someone may have gone a little overboard with the American food (two hot dogs, two slices of pizza, Amaretto french toast, and a burger in the span of 48 hours), but I think the road to recovery was a short one.
Anyways, my point is, I more or less took a week off from work to be a tourist in my hometown. And it was pretty cool. The last time I saw the city from so high up was then the Twin Towers were still standing, and it’s always hard to force myself out of my routine to go try something new when I know it requires twenty minutes on the subway. But having someone visiting in town forces me to do that. I still hate people who walk too slowly, because tourism should include learning about culture and NYC’s culture is walking fast. But I guess the truth is that I live in a pretty cool city, and I should be more appreciative of it. This place drives me insane – it’s too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, too wet in-between, with too many people and cars, too much traffic, and everything is too damn expensive. But it’s also where I grew up. My favorite wine bar, cocktail bar, and beer house are all on the same island, as is my favorite restaurant and the best sunset view in the world. Sure, we have the ugliest public transport in the western world, but it runs all night – I’m pretty sure Berlin is the only other city that can say that (and that’s more out of necessity for the hipsters partying in Soviet-era warehouses basically outside of the city limits). So what I’m getting at here is that it was a good week. I accomplished virtually nothing, and I’m fine with that. I got to rediscover a city I love, to escape the Cambridge bubble, and to drink cold and carbonated beer.
But seriously, no more Mets games.