A letter to New York
Dear New York
What a stunning, interesting, vibrant city you are. You lured me in with your Seinfelds and your Sex in the Citys and – obviously – your Friends; shows I grew up on; shows that showcased your amazing talent and your iconic beauty. You looked so fun!
I have just returned after four days exploring you with Daughter Kerri, and you’ll be so pleased to know (or you won’t care) that we did – really – have a lot of fun. There are some parts of our trip that were truly memorable: cycling around Central Park; the 9-11 memorial and museum; getting a drunken ride in a tuk-tuk to Times Square from a Sunday afternoon drag brunch. Yep, we bought the “The Tourist’s Guide to the New York Cliche” and we lived it for four days.
But, if you don’t mind (and you probably do), I have a few questions for you.
Who designed your subway?
Was it a mad scientist or an evil genius? As I tried, and failed, to navigate the complex myriad of nonsensical nonsense that is your Subway “system”, I had a vision of its creator; a wild-haired weirdo in a white coat and a blindfold, wielding a bucket-load of coloured felt-tips, scribbling manically whilst shouting “HAHAHAHAHA – those idiots will NEVER solve this riddle!”
Was the whole thing a social experiment, a joke or a blatant attempt to keep out-of-towners from daring to venture below your streets?
I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, but reasonable intelligence will not get you far here. The Subway is a dark, mysterious place and should not be attempted without serious knowledge, and/or an appetite for adventure/risk/public outbursts. If it wasn’t for Daughter Kerri, I would probably still be sitting on a train somewhere under the streets of Brooklyn.
Why are your hot dogs famous?
Daughter K insisted on buying a hot dog from a street vendor, because it is one of those things you have to do/eat in New York. (It was definitely in the Guide, alongside cheesecake, fries and bagels). This is that hot dog. It was $4 and was not too impressive. It was served to us in Times Square by a bored/angry vendor who was probably a Hot Dog Millionaire and had lost all pride in his craft.
Why do you hate tourists?
OK, I admit, this is a stupid question. Your town has been absolutely ruined by us. The thing is, if you insist on being all iconic and vibrant and touristy, then you should probably expect us to come.
We come in our thousands, of course, and we bring with us our hard-earned cash, our high expectations, and quite a large dose of patience, to spend on the New York experience. Would it kill you to be a bit nicer to us?
What’s with the Christmas shops?
I am a self-confessed Christmas freak. I even have a business selling Christmas trees.
So when I saw my first Christmas shop, I was charmed. I even went in and looked around. I had no idea that we would see another 8 of these shops on our travels. Why? It dawned on me that these shops were set up just for stupid tourists. When wandering around your city in the middle of June, obviously we will want a Statue of Liberty Christmas decoration for $20!
I have taken inspiration from you, though, and I am considering selling Christmas trees all year round.
Where is the real NY experience?
I am well aware that you can’t expect the real New York experience if you insist on following New York for Dummies. I realise that if you want to enjoy the city and all it has to offer, you will need a sizeable inheritance, or you will have to sell one of your children, or at the very least one of their kidneys. I agree that if you are one of the thousands of people loitering in Times Square whilst complaining about the crowds in Times Square, you are an idiot.
And I know that Friends was actually filmed in LA.