Sunday, 25 July 2010

As an aside

Despite what the masses will have you think, the best way to see a city isn’t necessarily by donning a rucksack and digitally recording the tallest buildings.

That’s not to say that, while in New York, I haven’t taken full advantage of all there is to see and do. But when it comes to tourism, I always feel like there’s a better option. For example, we gave ascending the Empire State a miss, choosing instead to see it through blurry drunk eyes from the roof top bar of an adjacent hotel. We saw the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline from the comfort of the Staten Island commuter ferry and took in Central Park from the vantage point of a well positioned rock.

No photos exist of our visit to Ground Zero; but oh, the camcorders and disaster tourists were out in force. The things people choose to photograph on their holidays never ceases to amaze me. They stand there, smiling away, vacantly recording: Me in front of building. You in front of building. Us in front of building. Building on it's own. Move on. People plonk themselves in front of anything from Alice and Wonderland statues to French designer shops to the inscriptions outside terrorist attack sites these days. I don’t know about you, but seeing a teenage girl posing for smiley photos in front of a memorial to several hundred dead firemen leaves nothing but a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s the families and friends who have to sit through slideshows of that shit back home who I feel sorry for. Who wants to see a picture of you grinning in front of a building site where thousands died? Why, instead of videoing the information on the wall in the 9/11 visitor centre, don't you just put the camera down and read it?

I haven't had a camera since (both of) mine broke back in April. There's been some sharing going on, but largely, I've left the Boyfriend to it. And you know what? It's amazing what sights, sounds and smells the mind can remember when you give it a chance. It's been a constant frustration to me on this trip, realising how many people fail to give this other way of recording a try.


jman said...

Most things you're better off just buying a post card unless you want to have yourself in the photo. But as you say, it's the memories you carry with you in your internal hard drive that are the ones that last. Glad you've been having a good time despite the debilitating heat.

Don't know how much longer you are going to be here but you shouldn't leave without trying an H&H bagel to see what one is really meant to taste like (they have shops at 80th & Bway and W46th and Westside Highway (by the Intrepid. These are not sandwich shops - you can buy your bagel and some cream cheese and they will give you a plastic knife but they don't make it for you). If you're lucky it will still be warm as they make them on the premises. And of course it is imperative you have a good slice of pizza. Try Little Italy on E 43d between 5th and Madison. Famiglia (there are several around) is also pretty good. Lots of the top of the line ones don't sell slices except DiFara's which always gets top ratings but is pretty out of the way in deepest Brooklyn. Bon appetit!

Lapa said...

Very good.


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