Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nothing to do

A lot of times you hear people say "I hate this tiny place, there is nothing to do here." I have a theory about why that is, and it might surprise you.

My thesis is that a place becomes "cool" to live in, if it attracts tourists. So its a chicken-and-egg problem. Lets compare NYC and Pittsburgh. NYC is amazing: there are lots of things to do. In fact, when you wander around, you get the feeling that every corner will have something hiding out there that will make good bragging rights when you go back home: a comic book store with free chocolate or a bar which attracts competitive paper plane flying, or even just exotic food.

What would happen to all these places if tourists stopped visiting? They'd collapse, and Manhattan would just look like Pittsburgh's downtown: busy with office-goers in the morning and deserted at night. Its the tourists who keep the city from sleeping. Those tourists are basically subsidizing NYC's claim to be a happening city where there is a lot of stuff "to do".

If my theory is right, perhaps people from fun cities like SF and NYC should be a little more thankful for tourists. Because I think without the visitors, they'd be living in a place no different from Bucktown, MO.

1 comment:

Anjali said...

Thankful for tourists?! Never! On a side note, you make an interesting point, but I don't know if tourists come to nyc for the quirkiness. Maybe the solution is: Develop hard core touristy activities (think statue of liberty with a roller coaster on it), get the tourists in => make the city rich => allow the residents the luxury to have eccentric things.