A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

Tourists in this town are really getting short shrift lately.

First, tragedy befell a woman and her family who were riding in a hansom cab when the horse tripped and fell. Though completely physically uninjured in any way, the woman was subjected to profound emotional suffering and untold trauma which she expressed fearlessly with maniacal, uncontrollable sobbing and shrieking. Thank goodness she had the presence of mind to continue filming throughout her ordeal. Unfortunately, the agony did not end there, as her husband and children were forced to endure her hysterical weeping, heaping anguish upon anguish. They will likely never again ride in a hansom cab, which puts them about even with any New Yorker who isn’t a total lamewad. Sadly, the family did lose their deposit on their elaborately-planned hansom cab cross-country road trip. Also, their dreams of joining the Amish are most likely shot.

This city will eat you alive, man.

Then on Wednesday, a young man climbed over the safety glass a the Top of the Rock observation deck, threatening to jump. For more than an hour, tourists were unfairly prohibited from going up there and taking photographs of themselves in a humorous perspective which makes it appear as though they are holding the Empire State Building between their thumbs and forefingers. While that selfish guy contemplated ending his life in a truly horrific manner, visitors were forced to derail their plans and instead go get some Ben & Jerry’s in the concourse and wait to buy Dwight Shrute bobble-heads in the NBC Experience store. The humanity. A woman traveling from Rome expressed their plight to DNAinfo.com:

“It’s sad that someone has to do this and ruin my day and everyone else’s,” she said. “I hope he gets some help.”

Anyone who would thoughtlessly ruin an innocent tourists’ day like that certainly is in need of some help, there’s no doubt about it.

I’ve always harbored a secret suspicion that the tourists like it when we locals are a little bit obnoxious. I have always tried to oblige. You know, nothing major, just an annoyed huff from behind in the Dunkin’ Donuts line as they inquire as to the merits of a Coffee Coolata versus an Iced Dunkaccino, or a soft elbow while wading through the crowds around Radio City Music Hall. The occasional hostile “excuse me” while attempting to pass a family of seven who are walking arm-in-arm across the sidewalk. That type of thing. I thought they could feel satisfaction in going home to their pals and saying with worldly conviction, “Yeah, New Yorkers really are rude, and everyone is always in such a hurry!” Sort of how we like to do after visiting Paris.

But now people are just going too far. Tourists are an important part of our economic wellbeing! Who else would pay the full $25 suggested donation at the Met? And without them, how could thriving businesses like Bubba Gump Shrimp stay in the black? We need to treat them with the deference and consideration they deserve.

So depressed and desperate people, cool it with your suicide attempts in heavily-trafficked sightseeing areas. And horses, come on. Let’s get it together. Homeless people, run a comb through your hair for gosh sakes. People with jobs actually trying to get places on time, slow your roll. Lunatic who screams about damnation on the opposite corner from creepy photo-op Elmo, hush yourself. We need to work as a team and put our own needs second for once.

Creepy photo-op Elmo, keep up the good work. I want everyone to look at creepy photo-op Elmo and learn something about the way we do customer service here. Okay, dismissed. Have a nice weekend everyone, and try not to cause any more trouble.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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