There a certain pride that goes with being a native New Yorker. I assume the same can be said for natives of Boston or Chicago or San Francisco or pretty much any city, town, village or hamlet that is loved by it's residents. I can only be called a "native New Yorker" in the loosest sense, however. I'm not from New York City nor have I ever lived there. I have, however, spent my entire life living on it's outskirts about a one hour train ride away from the Big Apple. By the way, I do not approve of the term "the Big Apple". I don't know why I just used it. Maybe just to tell y'all that I don't approve. Feh.
Anywho. Besides the pride in your hometown of choice, there also exists a certain oblivousness to what can only be called tourist attractions. Faneiul Hall in Boston. The Sears Tower in Chicago. That really big ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota. You know what I mean. In New York we have the United Nations, the Statue of Liberty, the hole in the ground that was the site of an unthinkable tragedy and the Empire State Building. But we, the royal we, really don't think twice about those sites. Everyone else comes to our cities to see them, and they can have them. We, once again the royal we, just don't care about them.
Would you believe that in the thousand times or so that I've been to NYC I have never been to any of these sites? Oh, I got about a block and half away from the hole in the ground a couple of years ago, but that memory is still stuck too firmly in my throat so I couldn't force myself to get any closer. And I had a class trip to the Statue of Liberty once, but we never even made it inside.
And I've never been inside the Empire State Building.
In fact, and this is sad, I've never even really cared to find out exactly where it was. I mean I saw it from a distance as I drove into the city or took the train. And I guess I may have seen it from hotel rooms or friend's apartment buildings. But I really just never cared.
So a few years ago I was walking around Midtown with a friend of mine. We were walking by an obviously large building with the rest of the touristy Midtown crowds. That's when I saw a plaque on the building identifying it as the Empire State Building.
I stopped. I may have stepped back and looked up. Then I said "Huh!"
My friend wanted to know what was up, so I told him that it was the Empire State Building. I even went up and patted the side of the building like it was a well-behaved doggie. "So" he said. That's when I told him that I was surprised because I never really knew where it was before. And I started to walk away.
My friend couldn't believe it. He knew how often I am in the city and he just couldn't believe it. But I just never cared. I still don't.
I'll leave it to the tourists.
(Hope all the attendees of BrittCon 2008 had a great time in NYC!!! Did y'all see the Empire State Building? ;)