Tourists, please watch where you sit in NYC

Dear Diary,

The weather has become nicer and while Times Square has not ceased to see its share of tourists, with warmer weather the number of visitors increase. What I’m seeing more often is tourists who are tired of walking the concrete jungle, plopping themselves down on the sidewalks of Broadway, 7th, 8th and 9th avenues while waiting for their tour buses to come pick them up.

Watch where you sit (or lie)

I was fast walking down 8th avenue, heading to my dance class when I came across this little group of white school kids – they looked European to me – who were sitting in a large group in front of a store on 8th avenue and 47th street area. If you are not familiar with the area, this is where you have the mix of delis, bars, a fetish shop and number of restaurants, along with a string of crazy bums, bags of garbage and construction work.

Did I mention…. New Yorkers HATE when tourists take over half or the entire sidewalk.

It was such a moment where I was approaching this group of young European teenagers, of whom all of them were sitting squarely on the sidewalk. There was one boy who was laying on his back, with his head propped up on his bag, and he’s checking his iPhone. He sees me passing by – smiles and waves hello.

I smiled back.

Then I stop very briefly for a second, lean over and tell him calmly:

“um…. I wouldn’t LIE there if I were you. I’ve seen people throw up and dogs shit in that very spot you’re lying on.”

With that I kept marching on to catch my dance class.

I could hear the kids around him squeal with laughter and disgust. I didn’t turn back to see if he had jumped up out of his laid back position. We are not in Kansas any more, Toto – or Berlin, or Paris, for that matter. Streets here in NYC get pretty ripe. Even the roaches and rats won’t lay on the sidewalk because they know better.

Really, people?

I often wonder when I see a family sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a bus or just resting their weary feet, if they ever think about where they are putting their asses. Unless you are homeless – which I’m seeing more and more average looking white folk begging as being “broke” – no one in their right mind should ever sit, much less LIE on the streets of New York City. Maybe the side streets are better. Maybe some place that’s got less traffic. Stoops, park benches, fountain edges….

But not the sidewalk in TIMES SQUARE.

Now… I am not a germ-a-phobe. All I’m saying is that I’ve lived long enough in this city to know what goes on there. People spitting, throwing up, dogs doing their business, uncollected garbage, wet fresh garbage being dragged from the cellars of restaurants to the sidewalks, gum, spit….. God knows what else goes on there. I’ve even seen a guy squat at a corner of Duane Reade to defecate. While the signs of these activities eventually disappear with rain, someone’s hose, or just purely daily traffic, the fact remains that those streets get a lot of nasty action.

I know that if you look upwards, the city scene looks pretty and exciting. But please…. look down and find a decent place to sit. The city is not the suburbs. There is a reason why some New Yorkers who live in the area have taken up a habit of taking their shoes off at the entrance of their apartments – not because they are adopting the Japanese way of living, but because it’s simply NASTY.

This was a health related public announcement.

Little (Ew) Reiko and the equally disgusted Turkey.

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