Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not lost in NYC

The Department of Transportation is proposing these signs to help tourists and locals get around.

Michael Musto is not sure he likes the idea, saying "I've finally figured the grid out, for chrissake. Please don't suddenly turn it into a board game for the unwashed!"

One of the best things about living in Rome was the frequent getting lost. I never demanded that the city strew bread crumbs for me to follow. I never resented an urban layout like a basket of rumpled laundry. My favorite places were the ones I discovered by accident.

The question becomes "Whose city is this?" Maybe it belongs to both residents and visitors, but can they both be served without destroying what is great about this city? Meanwhile, I sometimes like living in Disneyork. When I go out for coffee in flip flops and shades, the tourists think I am someone on television and must be photographed and identified later. Like a bug.


  1. When I go out in 8 inch platform heels and a drag/faerie/fashion look in Soho or on St. Marks, tourists get their NYC moment. I could have actually made quite a bit of money if I had charged for taking photos last weekend! And oddly, on a weekend like Pride, most New Yorker queers will do anything not to appear to notice or blink at a spectacle, while straight people and visitors will positively engage and enjoy the street theater of it.

    As long as you don't find yourself unexpectedly trying to be a pedestrian through a tourist zone, the visitors aren't so bad. They just have no idea how to use a sidewalk. I'd be happy with some "Keep Right!" signs.

  2. As a dye in the wool New Yorker, I feel tourism is New York City's biggest asset, specially now that it's manufacturing base has been long gone.

    I admire Michael Musto a great deal, but I think he has the wrong attitude about our city. The more tourist friendly, and yes, cleaner we can make NYC, the better for the rest of us who reside here.

    I would love for NYC to have the same cleanliness, friendliness and convenience to outsiders, and safety of all the cities in Europe

  3. Riot, You are absolutely right to remind locals of the value of "street theater". If that aspect of public persona-hood is repugnant to you, there are always the Dakotas....

  4. Miguel, to argue the opposite for a moment: think of Times Square. It's clean, safe and quite artificial. We have to find a way not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  5. i like the idea - even with the easy to navigate grid of nyc.

    one thing i do love about visiting european cities are the signs that point out and direct you to various locations of interest. they're helpful and sometimes give me suggestions to see things that i might not have known about.