Friday, July 11, 2008

Eur In My Way

The weakness of the U.S. dollar has brought an influx of European tourists to NY, and in turn, to Ground Zero, replacing the the throngs of Midwesterners I used to navigate through on my way to and from work. It's significant in several ways: for one, my passive-aggressive declarations of city etiquette are often ignored due to the language barrier ("hey, it's a side-WALK, not a side-STAND-AND-GAWK" just doesn't translate, and even a generic "Excuse me" is often met with bewildered smiles.) The other phenomenon is the sudden appearance of audio tour equipment, presumably available in multiple languages, so that I am continually passing people silently staring out the World Financial Center windows with earphones on. Yesterday, a group of about fifty high school students sat on the Winter Garden steps, not talking, staring eerily ahead as they listened. Seriously, it looked like the trailer for an alien invasion zombie movie.

Oh, and of course let's not forget that Europeans are, for the most part, thinner than the American tourists we usually see (who are, in turn, generally heavier than the average New Yorker.) Walking daily past the chunky Floridian middle-aged pastel-clad women, who I realize with secret glee are probably my age or younger even as they appear a decade older, is much more of an ego-boost than passing the flat-bellied trendy-shod Euro-moms with their gangly hip teenage sons (who could pass for young lovers. And maybe they are.)

Yes, every economic trend is designed to make me feel fat.


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