I visited New York City seven times in twenty years and I have been living here for nearly a month and a half now. I love this city and I almost never get lost. I can locate any type of cuisine I want and figure out how to get to it without sparing much thought. I know at least a little local slang and I can recognize accents from certain parts of the city.
You’ve been waiting for a “but” and I’m never one to disapoint, so here it is…
…BUT I am still a tourist in this city and I might be that way even if I lived here for the rest of my life. The truth is that we all kind of have a tendency toward being a tourist on occassion in New York. There’s so much going on and so many new opportunities that no single person can be constantly in-the-know. I regularly check the internet and chat with my roomates about what’s going on each week and yet when I go into the office after the weekend ends, I frequently find out about a host of other events I had no idea had happened. But I didn’t really miss out because I was partaking of some other NYC offering. No person can truly be a pro at handling the plethora of activities that is NYC.
What’s more is that activities typically prescribed as “tourist activities” really can’t just be ignored by locals. It would be folly to live in this city and never go to Ellis Island or go to the top of the Empire State building. You would be missing out on huge opportunities just for the sake of declaring yourself a “non-tourist”!
Therefore, it is with little regret that I can anounce that I spent this weekend attempting to catch a glimpse of a movie star, winding through the Guggenheim, and touring the Rockefeller Center. I enjoyed myself and embraced the need to simply be a part-time tourist while living here.
But NYC isn’t the only place where people actually live and try to ignore the touristy spots. Do you occassionally visit the tourist places in your own town, county and state? I know I grew up a stone’s throw from Niagra Falls and didn’t catch a glimpse until I was 19. Lesson learned: take advantage of the tourist zones closest to home because you can’t garuantee you’ll live there forever and you don’t want to miss your chance!
I’m proudly going to be a part-time tourist for my entire life- I hope you’ll join me!