Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Trail of the Tourists - NYC

Tourist Tracks

Summer in Manhattan: Lots of tourists wherever you turn. I'm not complaining, just observing. They've got a right to be here, and they are a source of infinite amusement once you've gotten used to the fact that they're here no matter what you do. They come as individuals, as pairs and in crowds of three and more. They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and nationalities. They sometimes look lost even when they aren't and are lost even when they think they're not. They clasp their guidebooks, their maps, their brochures in their hands. They stop at street corners to gape when they aren't trying and to figure out where they are.
Once upon a time, I used to resent them. I used to say to myself that I didn't plan on working in a town as full of temporary residents as Disney World. I used to get annoyed at how they blocked the crosswalks and walked too slow on the avenues, sometimes five or six across. But since I choose to live and work in this area, I've got accept them. I might as well try to hold back the tide as keep them away.
So why not take advantage of their presence and capture them in my camera, and share some of their pleasure? I look at the photos and I'm happy to see their faces. Some are weary from walking all day in the heat, others are full of energy and wonder at the sights, sounds and smells of the city. At least this is an organic tourist attraction, not one designed to draw people to visit, everything cynically directed at sucking money from the visitor, the way a theme park, and amusement park or a purpose built resort is. 
Ok, I admit that I'm not sure all of these people are tourists. But they could be.

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