It seems that somebody in Chelsea is not loving the insane popularity of the High Line. So much so, in fact, that they've gone and put up signs reminding "High Line Tourists" that "West Chelsea is not Times Square. It is not a tourist attraction." Really? Because it IS attracting tourists!
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York noted the signs in a post today and even bothered to type up what they say. Get ready for some tourist-directed rage:
"Do not sit on the 'stoops' of buildings or take pictures of and film buildings or residents. Buildings are not tourist attractions: people live there, and sitting on the steps and taking pictures is as invasive, rude and inappropriate as a group of strangers sitting on the steps of your home and taking pictures of it and you from the yard. Think how you would feel in the situation were reversed and act accordingly.
3,000,000 (3 million) of you come to West Chelsea and walk the High Line a year. 40,000 (forty thousand) people live in Chelsea. That’s roughly a ratio of 100 tourists on the streets of Chelsea and walking the High Line to 1 resident trying to get to the store, ride her bike, take a stroll, go the gym or just have a quiet moment with his dog. Please consider how you would feel if 3 million people a year from around the world trampled your street, your neighborhood, and your local park, and act accordingly--in the way that your morals or religion or general human consideration would dictate.
Observe New York sidewalk etiquette. That means do not walk more than two people in a row down the sidewalk. Otherwise you clog the sidewalk for people to pass by either way.
If you see an empty space, leave it empty. Otherwise there will be no spaces for New Yorkers. …and if you love New York, leave it alone."
It is a fun read, indeed, but for an even better time, we recommend the comments section on JVNY, where people are of two very distinct minds on this. On the one hand there are the folks who wholeheartedly agree with the sign's sentiments ("Bravo! Well said. Of course, no tourist will actually look at it.") and on the other are some smart asses who point out issues in the poster's math ("3 million tourists a year averages out to 8,219 tourists per day. So on average, Chelsea residents outnumber Chelsea tourists on any given day by a ratio of roughly 5 to 1."). Not to mention the inevitable folks essentially calling the poster a whiner:
I can only be bemused by people who moved to New York for a suburban experience. Also, remember that, not too long ago, West Chelsea was besieged by outsiders of a different sort: transient people looking for illegal sex and drugs. I can still remember when those streets were crawling with that sort of thing. I sense that this poster moved to Chelsea after those days, and thinking that the brief calm between the bad old days and the current tourist boom was a permanent state and not a brief gasp of transition, and, with the usual unchecked sense of bourgeois entitlement, rails against the "inferior" masses. Besides, as the ACLU can tell you, people have the right to take whatever films and videos on a public street as they wish. Anti-tourism may seem "hip" but it is elitist and uninformed.
Where do you stand? Should the city do a better job of educating our 50 million tourists on how to act in the city? Or do residents of trendy neighborhoods need to just accept the tourism industry or move elsewhere?