I've been known to occasionally rant
about those tourists who constantly
descend upon our island in endless
swarms from places like Iowa and
Italy. Like vermin, they're more than
a nuisance given their ignorance of
basic urban etiquette. At times I must
admit, I lose my patience. Especially
when they stand at a corner like
lambs being led to slaughter waiting
for the walk signal. Don't they know
pedestrians rule the road?! I want to
stop them to scream "GO HOME!"
And yet, is it really their fault? I'm certain
that Parisians say exactly the same things
about Frank and I whenever we visit their
city. Being strangers in a strange place is
confusing at best. Who hasn't been a lost
lamb at some point? Therefore why does
it bother me when I encounter wandering
babes in the woods? Everybody needs a
tour guide. Someone to shepherd them as
they learn the ropes. These novices from
the provinces simply need a helping hand
rather than a bitch slap! It's time for me to
be a good Samaritan rather than bad host!
Anger aside, what's odd about my angst
is that I actually love sharing our home
town with out of towners. There's little
that is more magical than seeing someone
experience Manhattan for the first time.
Revealing it's beauty, scope, diversity,
and complexity to visiting vestal virgins
gives me great pleasure. What may seem
ordinary to us locals is quite extraordinary
to neophyte novices. The fact is we take
our amazing city for granted and seeing it
through a fresh set of eyes can actually be
quite refreshing! I can see clearly now!
This weekend Frank's niece "J" and nephew
"J" are visiting us. While fitting four people
into our pied a terre is a bit challenging, the
pleasure of their company more than makes
up for it. Frank has been planning out their
itinerary for weeks. One thing is certain, by
the time they leave Manhattan they will be
fully indoctrinated in the secrets of this city.
You see, if one only frequents the typical
tourist spots, all one sees are other tourists.
Instead we plan to share all of the sights
and sounds that we truly love. Plus all the
spots peons from Peoria never get to see!
Don't get me wrong, we'll hit the Top
of the Rock and the Circle Line (weather
permitting). And yes, we'll go to a show
and stroll Fifth Avenue. However we'll
also go to parts of Chinatown no tourist
would dare visit. And quickly navigate
the Metropolitan Museum to see jewels
often overlooked. It's not that we won't
act like tourists. The difference will be
that they'll be traveling with tour guides
who know and love them and most of
all simply want them to enjoy their time
here in the city that never sleeps!