March 22, 2018
Or the Christmas Movie Tour? Since interest in this theme pretty much evaporates after you’ve done Miracle on 34th Street, you’re left with Home Alone 2, Serendipity, and Scrooged.
See the spot where Buddy the Elf triumphed in a snowball fight and where Kevin McAllister met the Pigeon Lady!
Uh…no thank ya. I think I’ll be boring and go have a pint at McSorley’s.
Or the Summer Solstice Tour, which seems to be identical to the Winter Solstice Tour, both of which involve wandering around Central Park, presumably doing something Druidical?
How about the Un-Highlights Tour of the Metropolitan Museum—meaning the stuff nobody else wants to look at? Or, if you absolutely must be such a tourist that you really wanna look at the van Goghs and Goyas and bronze statues from Greece and the mummies and the Yves St. Laurent costumes, at least do it the cool way and take the EmptyMet Tour, in which you get up at the crack of dawn and enter the museum ninety minutes before anyone else can get in. It’s a bargain at $175 a person.
The Chinatown Food Tour sounds promising until you realize the only restaurants involved are the obscure ones in basements, presumably because that makes them more authentic. This is especially ironic since you could go to Flushing, in Queens, where the Chinese immigrants have flocked over the past twenty years, and find Chinese cuisine that only the Chinese eat. Same thing goes for the Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour, which must be run by a lazy tour guide, since you could pretty much choose any three-block area for that in a city that speaks 800 languages.
Likewise, the extremely unimaginative Ghost Tour—is there any city in the world that doesn’t have three dozen ghost tours?—features a stop at “Hangman’s Elm,” at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park, a 310-year-old tree that is “rumored” to have been the site of many notorious executions. You know when these rumors started? When the walking tours began.
And perhaps this year’s anti-tourism Oscar should go to whoever designed the Manhattan Off-the-Beaten-Path Walking Tour. The highlights are Greenacre Park, a little vest-pocket oasis of greenery on 51st Street—not far from Jimmy Choo!—that you might miss entirely if you’re walking too fast, and Roosevelt Island, which consists of acres and acres of apartment buildings that remind you of Moscow in the 1950s.
Listen to me, people. The Statue of Liberty is not that bad. It’s really not. You’ll enjoy it. And it’s especially nice to look at when you think the country is going to hell. If you don’t like the lines, just jump on the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, and it will sail right under Lady Liberty’s torch going both directions. And the reason the statue is so spectacular, and the reason every American tourist should see it, is not because it welcomed the outcasts of the world—although she did. And it’s not because so many of our ancestors cried when they first saw it—although they did. And it’s not because Lady Liberty represents a world of inclusiveness and multiethnic multicultural multinational harmony—although she does.
No, the reason looking at it will give you hope is that France gave it to us. When the French start being nice, anything is possible.