2012-06-28 / Telling It Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is

Showing Tourists The True New York Attitude
By Dara Mormile

For native New Yorkers who are used to the city's noise, aggressive commuters, and inyour face attitudes, getting away to a quiet place is the perfect vacation. That's what a vacation usually consists of – going somewhere to unwind and be in a serene and different environment.

Those who visit our lovely city while on vacation might or might not enjoy the hustle and bustle that defines New York as a city. It's certainly an attraction for those who are slow-paced and want a taste of car horns constantly beeping and curses flying throughout the streets over vendors trying to make a few bucks by selling fruit at the corner.

I met my friend Annette, who lives in Brisbane ,Australia, through a penpal site about four years ago. We both enjoy photography, traveling, scrapbooking, and we can both talk for hours over cups of coffee. When she first visited New York in 2010, we had a lovely time and kept busy visiting the typical “touristy” spots, including Battery Park, Coney Island, and the South Street Seaport. Locally, we enjoyed days at Canarsie Pier and Canarsie Park and also shopped locally.


My friend Annette and I on the Brooklyn Bridge, where tourists were some of the nicest people . My friend Annette and I on the Brooklyn Bridge, where tourists were some of the nicest people . When I received her e-mail at the beginning of the year that said she wanted to visit again, I was ecstatic and looking forward to more detailed adventures around the city. We had quite a list of places we wanted to go together – some I had been to already by myself and some I knew would be better experienced for the first time with someone from outside the city. Even though I already know that native New Yorkers are somewhat rough around the edges, I was almost embarrassed when I took my friend on the local subways and to some of Canarsie's shops. As opposed to most small communities across America, New York has some of the rudest and loudest people you'll find on the face of the earth.

While we were on the L and A trains, groups of teen aged girls, involved in casual conversations, yelled and stomped their feet for no real reason. It was as if they had the whole car to themselves and had no respect for anyone sitting around them. If they only knew what impact they'd made on someone from another country...well, I guess they didn't care about anyone but themselves.

My friend and I also went to local pharmacies and supermarkets for simple items. But some of the employees didn't exactly have the best etiquette. At the supermarket, after ringing up our groceries, the cashier left the station for about five minutes. We looked around for her, ready to pay and leave. Not only did she mosey on back to the cash register, she had a slight attitude when I handed the money to her and she didn't say, “Have a nice day,” or anything that was socially accommodating.

Let's get real! Most people who work in this community probably are NOT thinking: “I might be serving someone from another country, and my attitude is a reflection of this community.”

Canarsie's reputation is based on how neighbors, business owners, and workers conduct themselves. However, they're too comfortable to realize that they could be making a bad impression on someone from another country where manners are outstandingly generous. I found it ironic that the places where we received courtesy and friendliness were where the tourists went! Annette and I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge one Saturday and the only considerate people were the out-of-towners, who weren't sucking their teeth or walking past us with an, “I'm going to stab the next person who crosses my path,” look.

My question to some residents is, “Do you want to make New York seem like a city populated by a bunch of rude, loud, and careless people?”

A few pointers to those Canarsiens who aren't aware of how you're treating tourists: 1) Greet and say goodbye with a positive attitude, 2) Your aggression and profanity isn't seen as a form of being “tough,” and 3) Think about how YOU want to be treated if you visited another country and how you would want the locals to showcase their community. I could list more, but these are among the important traits I think citizens should exhibit anyway, regardless of who they're around.

I was really honored and happy to be a “tourist” with my Australian friend, who made for wonderful, humorous, and pleasant company through all the roughness that is New York City. I also look forward to traveling to visit her one day and seeing the difference in people's attitudes. I certainly won't embarrass myself as an American by being loud, miserable, and rude. I have a reputation to maintain – and many New Yorkers should think about theirs, too...

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