Every once in awhile, Conde Nast Traveler or some other travel magazine will publish an article on “How To Not Look Like a Tourist”. And without fail, it leads to a spirited discussion in the comments section and on social media. It’s not difficult to understand this ambivalence towards tourists. New York City received approximately 58 million visitors last year, and locals simply have to accept that it’s a part of city life. Yes, you’ll encounter those five tourists who decide to walk side-by-side and take up an entire sidewalk. But 2014 statistics show that visitors generated a record $61.3 billion in overall economic impact, supporting 359,000 tourism related jobs and $21 billion in wages.
Personally, I’ve never shied away from the label and all its connotations. So I get excited about visiting somewhere new. And maybe I don’t look like I fit in. Isn’t that part of the experience? There’s a different energy buzzing inside you when you first embark on uncharted territory. Your senses are heightened, ready to devour everything you encounter. And so I shamelessly wander, camera in hand. There are certain areas in New York City that feel like designated tourist spots which locals avoid like the plague, but I think it’s fun to visit them every now and then. It can be invigorating to play tourist in your town, and we did just that recently at Battery Park.