“Excuse me,” she said hesitantly. “Could you tell me how to get to Third Street?”
She was dressed in a jogging suit and sneakers. Behind her stood a man in a logo sweatshirt of some sort holding a little girl’s hand.
I love tourists. I love the idea that they have come to visit my city and that I can help host them. And I especially love to give directions.
“Are you visiting?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, “From Omaha.”
“Really? I have a brother-in-law there. Okay. Now did you want Third Street or Third Avenue? There’s a difference. Third Street is pretty far away.”
“Thirty-third and Third,” the man said.
“Okay,” I said, “so you want the avenue. Just head that way two blocks and you’re there.”
The woman smiled. “You must be a native,” she said.
“No, not really,” I laughed, thinking of my own confused early days in Manhattan. “But I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere, so I guess that qualifies me as a New Yorker.”
“Thanks!” they all three said at once and were on their way.
And so was I, feeling pretty good about my city. New Yorkers have a reputation for being tough customers, and some are. But we are proud of our city and happy to have people visit. Yes, we’re always in a rush. Yes, it’s a rough-and-tumble place sometimes. But yes, we love it when you visit.
How many of you out there have visited New York?