Big city residents have always had a love-hate relationship with tourists, the affair skewed more towards the latter with the former being nothing more than a fleeting endearment. The sheer number of tourists adds to the popular appeal of the city and who doesn’t love it that their home is famous even in obscure parts of the world. Yet, with noisy tourists stopping and pulling their cameras out every step of the way disrupting the hectic life of the big city residents, it is no wonder that pesky tourists are a thorn in the sides of the denizens who call the city their home.
Here’s an Improv Everywhere prank that essentially taps into the resident-tourist relationship. “New york city resident? No. Please go in the tourist lane so you can click pictures, go slow, go to sleep, whatever tourists do”, says an agent. “As a New Yorker I appreciate this”, a passer-by responds.
All of us would have had some experience in this regard, either as the pesky tourist or as the heckled resident. Here’s one of mine.
Location: the Golden Gate bridge, west side lane. It was windy and cold. However, the view was so beautiful that we had decided to brave the windchill and walk across the bridge. Once at the middle we set our camps and were enjoying the sunset; a group of five. Oblivious to the lack of other tourists on the bridge we spent our time looking west, mostly in silence. I was engrossed with my Canon capturing the orange sky, experimenting with different exposures.
Someone shouted, “watch out!’. I took a step back just as a cyclist shot past through the same spot I was standing on a split second earlier. I looked up and left towards the cyclist only to catch him glaring at me. If looks could kill! He was kind enough to not say anything but his eyes betrayed his thoughts. ‘Damn you tourists. One day you’ll kill somebody.’
Apparently there were signs that said ‘Cyclists: West-side. Pedestrians: East-side’. Confused tourists that we were we had missed these signs and strayed into the cyclist lane. Undoubtedly it is people like us that grant legitimacy to the Improv Everywhere prank. As Mayor Bloomberg commented at a press conference later, “When I saw it I said, ‘Oh! That’s a nice thing to do.’ I thought it was very cute.”
Now as I was saying, all of us might have some story or the other to share in this regard. The comments box is open. In the meantime, listening to Shpongle and working on my doctoral thesis, I’ll be waiting for your reply.