I work on 42nd Street and Madison. I have worked here for a little over a year. I’m not crazy about Midtown. Actually, I really can’t stand Midtown. The people are grumpier, yet they seem to be wealthier. It’s weird, Midtown. And even the bodegas, delis, and chain restaurants take note of the higher income bracket; bottles of water are 50 cents more than they are in Brooklyn or anywhere else for that matter. I can buy a Snapple in Brooklyn for 1.50. It’s 2.50 here in Midtown.
Another problem I have with Midtown is the obscenely high number of tourists. They’re everywhere. It’s especially frustrating during lunch when you’re given such little time to get from one place to another. They stop in the middle of the sidewalk with their maps and their fanny packs and try and figure out which is North, and which way is South. My biggest irritation with the tourists of Grand Central is they very rarely move to the right of the escalator. It’s not a ride. MOVE PEOPLE! MOVE!
When I am visiting another city, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to blend in, which actually kind of sucks because I spend so much time trying to forget I’m there as a visitor, I forget to actually visit. Lame. I forget to mindlessly absorb everything. So, the tourists – the ones who carelessly wander about Manhattan like it’s one big movie set designed specifically for their enjoyment – are doing things the right way. I know this. I actually kind of envy their ability to live within the moment, nowhere to go, and no one to tell them they’re late when they get there.
I do my part, too. I carry a camera everywhere I go in New York City, which makes me look like a tourist. And I’m OK with that especially since I’m not. But sometimes, something happens that makes me feel like a tourist regardless of where I am in the city or whom I’m with.
For example, it’s the only place I have ever lived where they cover an entire Midtown street with snow in the dead of summer. Reaction, visitor or not, were all pretty much the same. At first glance, people didn’t think much of it at all. It looked so real! We just figured, “Oh, yeah, old snow built up on the sides of the street. Right.” And then, seconds later, “Oh, wait, it’s summertime. What the hell?”
The snow looked so real, and was so well done, I think that the only person who would have thought it was actually strange would have been someone who had never, ever seen snow before. Ever. Everyone else fell right in with it. When I first saw it, I actually thought, “Why isn’t that snow black from pollution and covered in trash?” It took something that simple for me to realize that something was wrong with the snow today in midtown. Every New Yorker knows that a New York City snowfall looks more like rotting Styrofoam after a couple of hours. But not this snow.
It turns out Doug Liman, director of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Supremacy, covered 42nd street and 43rd street in snow on Monday and Tuesday in order to film scenes for his upcoming film entitled Jumper.
Can you imagine having that kind of power? Can you imagine having that kind of money?
I took a few pictures of the aftermath today on my way into the office all the while having New Yorkers kick my ass out of the way as they hurried themselves to work. Unfortunately, I did not actually carry my camera to and from work with me yesterday or Monday so I missed the bulk of the weirdness. But, just like with most snowfalls, the remains were still there today and people were still unbelievably confused.