Tourist season is winding down. The crowds are somewhat lessened, but there are still plenty of tourists to go around.
NY1, our 24/7 TV news station, recently reported that 1 out of three jobs in Manhattan are tourists related. That caught my attention and piqued my interest. With a little research, I discovered some interesting facts. 63 million people a year visit New York City. To put that into perspective, it’s like the entire states of California and Texas coming to visit. That’s why it becomes so crowded here on this little island.
If you are looking for tourists, they are easy to spot.
They may be walking slowly down the sidewalk, 4 abreast, gazing at the tall buildings then abruptly stop and point upward, or pose for a set of selfies. They seem unaware of the sidewalk traffic stacking up behind them. It’s like if cars in the middle two lanes of 635/LBJ just stopped, got out, and talked about the traffic.
You may see a family of four hustling down 7th Avenue each dragging a roller suitcase behind them, always in a hurry to wherever they are going. I always hope they make it.
The tourists make Times Square a most interesting place, indeed. Often, we find a family surrounded by Mario, the Hulk, or a handful of Disney characters, all encouraging the tourist family to part with their cash for a picture.
Down the sidewalk, while several older ladies are sidling up to the Naked Cowboy for pictures, the gentlemen are gawking at the Patriot Ladies.
Wannabe rappers roam the streets giving away free samples of their work, asking for a small donation so they can keep on rapping. Best advice is to not take the CD into your hand.
Top view bus trips and tickets to local comedy clubs are sold on street corners beside storefronts selling T-shirts, magnets, coffee cups and just about anything printed with images that endear the city. These are good choices, especially for the first-time visitor.
The tourists never run out of opportunities to give away their money, or sights to see. Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, 9/11 Memorial and the Statue of Liberty. This is where the 63 million people go and what they do.
The tourists? We love ‘em.
Tourism brings $1.4 Billion a year into New York City. That’s a lot of money and the 1 in 3 tourism related jobs gives the tourists a lot of economic clout. They are a part of the heartbeat of New York City, and they remind us daily what a wonderful town we live in.
Tourists, forgive the random New Yorker who glares at you as you are admiring The City, he is just trying to find his way through the crowd so not to be late to work. Or the old woman who grumbles as she squeezes past you on the sidewalk. She is carrying her groceries 6 blocks and is tired. New Yorkers know the tourists are only experiencing their awe at the first sight of all New York City is. We’ve all done it.
The only thing is…they aren’t the ones looking up at the skyscrapers amazed at how tall they are now. They are the ones standing there waiting for the sidewalk to clear, so we can get home. And we love ya.
Please come back.