Living just a block away from Times Square, I’ve become accustomed to swarms of tourists hogging the sidewalks. But around this time of year the sheer number of out-of-towners makes me want to pull out a bazooka and gun ’em all down. The Americans are overly enthusiastic and horribly dressed, the Europeans are fussy and pretentious, and no self-respecting New Yorker would be caught dead in this madness.
I love Fran Lebowitz‘s quote: “If you’re a New Yorker and you run into another New Yorker in Times Square, it’s like running into someone at a gay bar in the 70s – you make up excuses about why you’re there.”
Yeah, I know, I know—there but for the grace of God go I. If I had never moved to New York I’d probably be among the slack-jawed yokels gaping up at the skyscrapers, loading up on chocolate novelties at the Hershey’s store, and lining up for a street artist to draw a charcoal caricature of myself. Or would I? I like to think that even if I was a NYC tourist I’d still be sophisticated enough to know better than to spend more than a few minutes in Times Square.
After all, it’s a pretty anti-climatic destination. The neon and bright lights are great, but there’s not a hell of a lot to do. Practically all of the charming honky-tonk quality of Times Square has been replaced by chain stores and banks and other bland stuff. I so much more preferred when the streets were lined with X-rated theaters and pinball parlors and head shops. Lots to keep one busy!
Oh Gawd, I sound like an old fart and a horrible ingrate. How incredible is it that I live right next to a place that everyone wants to visit? Even if Times Square isn’t exactly to my liking, I have to admit that it makes people deliriously happy. No where in New York will you see so many smiling people. Okay, I’ll put away my bazooka. Live and let live, peace on Earth, goodwill to men, etc. Someday when I find myself living in the sticks I’ll long for my days of being jostled by tacky tourists.