My view of tourists is evolving.  Mostly I think they are cute.  Like a lost child.  Not a desperately lost child.  Just a confused lost child.

I have decided that tourists have an air about them.  Their very being resonates with, “I’m not from here.”

Here are some basic ways to tell if someone is a tourist:

1. There is one obvious leader- with a map. + 5 points

2. They are part of a group.  Typically couples with (or without) teenage children.  + 3 points

3. Wearing a good pair of walking shoes. (They’re here for the day) + 2 points

4. Wearing their backpack backwards (in front of them). + 10 points (I’m sorry, but this is something a local NEVER does.)

5. They have nothing to do on the train and instead opt to talk loudly with their traveling companions or people watch. + 4 points

6. Wide eyes. They are taking in their surroundings because they are not typical. + 3 points

7. They are white and in Brooklyn. + 5 points

8. And they have their luggage with them. +3 points

9. They speak to each other in another language, preserving privacy and distance from their surroundings. + 3 points

10. They have a camera. In their hands. Ready to shoot. + 6 points

11. They are riding a tourist bus. (and therefore labeling themselves as tourists) + 6 points

12. They walk slowly when everyone is walking quickly. Blocking pedestrian traffic is a sure sign of experiencing novelty (or old age). + 4 points


0- 29 – MIGHT not be a tourist

30- 54 – A tourist

So…. funny story. This week a couple got on the train.  They were white and in Brooklyn.  They were together. And they were carrying a mesh bag that contained jackets and umbrellas.  And they just SEEMED like they didn’t belong.

So I asked… “Are you from here?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “oh.”

“I just moved here and I’m still trying to figure things out.”

I figured that sounded better than- “Oh, I thought you were a tourist and wanted to know how you like New York.”

She said, “I’ve lived here 60 years.”

ehh heh heh. funny.

But in all fairness, they don’t usually take the train.  They were kinda new to the train.

And I guess it doesn’t matter because we chatted all the way to the city.  Turns out her granddaughter goes to Queens College for speech therapy.  Small world.

And FYI: even though people who live NOT in New York City think that I moved to New York City, they are wrong.  I moved to Brooklyn.  I live in Brooklyn. But I do go to school in THE city. And then I come back home to Brooklyn.  While Brooklyn is still bigger than any city in Indiana (probably) it is not the city.  There is only one the city around here and that is- Manhattan.  Just to be clear.


And this video?  Just for your enjoyment.  It’s a stunt.  But when slow-walking tourists make me miss my train, I think it’s a great idea.

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