5 Things NYC Tourists Do That Make New Yorkers Absolutely Livid
Tourists are the bane of any New Yorker's existence. If you live in New York, and haven't complained about something a tourist has done at least once, you're leading some kind of alternate city existence and I would love it if you would please show me your ways. Tourists, as individuals, are probably great people. I'm sure in their respective hometowns, they function gracefully. But the second you put someone in a new city and tell them they're on vacation, they instantly transform into hideous shells of the likeable, capable, together people they used to be. My own mother went from being my hero to a person I would like to kill when she visited New York City, simply because she would walk very slowly in crowded places, while taking photos (sorry, love you, mom.)
New Yorkers walk to the beat of a very specific drum. It's a drum that knows, to the second, what time they need to leave the house to catch the train to get to work on time. It's a drum that knows exactly where to stand on each subway platform on their local line in order to get off right at the exit on the other side. It's a drum that needs to sync with millions of other drums, so it can't loose rhythm for a second, unless it wants to lose its tuna sandwich face down on Broadway, be the one that delays everyone's dinner because the hostess won't seat them until the entire party has arrived, or the one that has their iPhone snatched in the street. A New Yorker's beat is very precise and idiosyncratic, which is the exact opposite of a tourist's drum. A tourist is like a drum circle: everyone's there to bang around because it feels good, but there's no discernible purpose to the terrible noise they're making.
I love New York. I love it because it's big and terrible and it makes life hard. New York is like a giant cat: it purrs at you affectionately because it wants attention, but then it will piss in your bed for basically no other reason than it felt like it. New York's dark magic is that this makes you love it even more. Tourists? Well, tourists are the fleas on that cat. Whether the cat is curled up and docile in your lap or urinating on your sheets, the fleas are indiscriminately and ceaselessly getting into your clothes and your pillow cases. And even when it gets freezing and starts snowing and you think they'll all die, more of them just keep coming. Can you tell how much I love tourists? Here are 5 things all tourists do that make New Yorkers livid.
1. Stopping In Inconvenient Places
Whenever I imagine a tourist's train of thought, I imagine it must go something like this: "Oh my, that trash can is cool, I must stop to take a photo despite this huge crowd of people at rush hour all walking in the same direction. I think I'll get the best shot from right in the middle of the sidewalk, and I'll have to put all my shopping bags down here too... Next I'm going to swipe into the subway, oh wait, is this the right side? I better stop as soon as I get through the turnstile while I decide... Oh look, a Whole Foods at Union Square! I've heard about these before! I'm going to take one step into the doorway with my husband and seven children and we're just going to stand here and take it all in!"
2. Their General Meandering
There's a reason New Yorkers avoid Times Square unless some life-altering necessity requires them to go there (for instance, their job is there), and it's because of the pointless and oblivious way tourists meander through crowded places like excited Hobbits who have just left The Shire for the first time. I used to work in Times Square, and in my first week, was constantly accosted by people dressed up like characters from Chicago trying to sell me Broadway tickets. After a week, it stopped, and my boss told me it was because I had developed the "murderous stride and dead eyes of a New Yorker". New Yorkers have purpose when they're going from point A to point B, and New Yorkers respect that the New Yorkers around them have the same sense of purpose. Tourists meander moronically, just waiting for some taxi driver or knock off handbag vendor to rip them off completely.
3. Their Inability to Swipe a Metro Card
There never used to be tourists in my neighborhood, but now there are, and what's worse is they often come in large tour groups. My neighborhood is sparse enough that tourists are avoidable, that is until there's a line of them all trying to swipe their Metro Cards at the ONE subway turnstile, and all failing. As they each take turns to get it right, laughing, "HAW HAW ISN'T THIS FUNNY", perturbed New Yorkers wait impatiently behind them as the sound of one, two, three trains entering and leaving the station can be heard below. Once, after the third train had passed, I lost my cool and demanded I be let in front of the ten strong crowd of tourists who thought the funniest thing in the world was making other people late for work.
4. Encouraging "Show Time"
No New Yorker, in the history of the world, likes "Show Time". For the uninitiated, "Show Time" is when a bunch of male teenagers get on a crowded subway car and do terrifying break dances in the aisle while the train is moving while playing headache-inducing loud music and nearly kicking passengers in the face. "Show Time" is witnessed at least once a day for the average, public transit using New Yorker. For some reason, tourists live for this kind of shit. Note to tourists: when you're encouraging "Show Time" by clapping along or giving them tips, and everyone is staring at you, it's not because they're in awe of how benevolent and cool you are. It's because they're trying to explode your brain with the power of their minds.
5. Complaining About How Rude New Yorkers Are
Overhearing tourists complain about how rude New Yorkers are is one of those things that make biting my tongue very hard. I'm not from New York, and I find New York to be one of the friendliest cities in the world. The reason, dear tourist, a New Yorker was rude to you, is because you were doing one of the loathsome things that New Yorkers hate tourists doing.
Images: Getty Images; Giphy (4); fuckyeahjeffrichmond/Tumblr