Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bright Lights Big City

Sometimes it takes an outsider to really experience the intrigue of your hometown. My friend from Argentina could not believe that after 25 years of living just 30 minutes away from one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, I hadn't gone to a few of the most popular tourist sites. I had never gone to the Statue of Liberty, never gone up to the observation deck in the Empire State Building, and never sailed to Ellis Island. I thought Times Square was a tourist trap, and frankly I dreaded pushing past tourists as they gazed up, stupefied at all the bright lights.

In my defense, I know many others from the area who hadn't seen these attractions either, after all we figure that they will always be here. We don't need to do the silly things tourists do in order to really know our city. Perhaps this may be true, however those silly tourist things also make up New York City, and they make New York rather incredible.
Since I've known it, Times Square has always been somewhat of an adult amusement park. I didn't know the gritty Times Square with its peeps shows and sex shops. To me it has always been one big TV commercial, with lights and advertisements, a true emblem of American capitalism.
Now Times Square has evolved once again. Suddenly it is a place where people are encouraged to sit down and relax, rather than the old place where you hurriedly push everyone out of your way. There are seats you can sit on in the middle of it all. The bleachers also encourage further loitering on the small cement island smack dab in the middle of Time Square.
This is different than the Times Square I used to know, although it was nice to sit on the bleachers and take a look around. I mean it's hard not to. There are just so many different things going on over there. Strangely enough, after a few more minutes of gazing out into the advertising horizon, I felt the need to spend my money on useless products and Broadway shows. Needless to say that was enough Times Square for one day.


  1. La gringa española ...ummm cuanto te cobro por robarme mi idea???. je El nombre es excelente y los temas muy acertados

  2. I am shocked that you haven't been made to play tour-guide through all the tourist traps before! I've done it, well, too many times (though I think I have avoided the Empire State observation deck, the lines have usually been long enough to deter any tourists from dragging me up there with them). Great blog, its on my google reader now so I'll be in the loop!