Now that the Republican Convention is under way in Manhattan, we thought a guide to city life based on delegates’ real concerns could assist our new friends. Here are responses to some popular questions heard on the street. (Note, unfamiliar readers may want to check out our guide to New York jargon.)
“The line for the Empire State Building/Circle Line Tour Boat/Statue of Liberty is too long! Help!”
With all the extra people in town, getting into New York’s tourist attractions is going to be more difficult than usual. This is a shame, too, because visiting these attractions is something most New Yorkers love to do! Stop any of them on the street and ask what would make for the perfect New York evening. Dinner at Tavern on the Green followed by a stroll on the decks of the Intrepid spells romance for every New Yorker.
“I’m really in town to go to the U.S. Open, but everybody keeps giving me dirty looks. Really, I’m a tennis fan, and a Democrat!”
Wear your whites on the 7 train to Flushing. And, hey, carry a racquet. You may need it to subdue a pack of anarchists. Or those delegates from Utah who snaked your spot at the breakfast buffet.
“I’m from Arizona but, I’m sorry, I really can’t understand these New York accents. A little help please?”
Using basic linguistic patterns you can discern what most New Yorkers are saying:
When New Yorkers: End a fast-paced sentence with an upward lilt.
They mean: How do you do today, sir/ma’am?
When New Yorkers: End a slowly paced sentence on a downward tone.
They mean: I hope you’re enjoying our fine city. Have you seen Beauty and the Beast?
When New Yorkers: End a sentence with a cough and a signal to somebody behind you.
They mean: This one has a money belt.
“Times Square is so exciting! Don’t you just love it?”
We think it’s an interesting place, but mainly we love it because you love it. That’s why we put the Red Lobster there.
“Are New Yorkers worried about terrorist threats because of the convention?”
Of course! And for that very reason the city has installed increased security measures for the entire week you’re here. So if you haven’t already received your full-body cavity search, please head to the 70th Precinct immediately and request one.
“Every time I try to take the subway I end up going the wrong direction or missing my stop!”
Many of the normal subway routes have been altered for the Convention. But you can always ask any MTA employee for directions if you’re ever not sure which train to take. Additionally there are the following changes:
- The uptown 5 train will be making all local stops Tuesday and Wednesday, but sometime Thursday it will go all the way into Connecticut, never to be heard from again.
- The W train will be designated the “party train,” if you know what we’re saying.
- All other subway trains will be rerouted to provide only shuttle service between delegates’ hotels and Madison Square Garden, except the G train, which Bloomberg says delegates aren’t allowed on.
“I’m a Southern Baptist and I believe in the good in all people—and I’m here this week because I believe New York is probably not such a bad place after all. New Yorkers can say otherwise, but Giuliani (who’s a Republican!) did a lot of good for this city.”
You’re right: he did do a lot of good. And in many ways New York’s been ready for a Republican Convention for years. After all, we have a law banning dancing in certain establishments.
In that way, you really haven’t traveled so far.
“The other morning I was enjoying a cup of coffee outside my hotel and some guy walked by and put a quarter in my cup! What’s up with that?”
Oh, that old gag. What actually happened was he thought you were a bum! Here are a few other common New York scenarios that might be confusing to visitors:
What you think is happening: Standing in a pile of shredded clothes, you are surrounded by harpies busy flinging off their skirts and pants and shrieking at each other’s underwear.
What is actually happening: You are waiting for a women’s dressing room at Century 21.
What you think is happening: You are being knifed.
What is actually happening: You are being bled.
What you think is happening: A homeless person covered in filth is shouting unintelligible gibberish at you in a different language.
What is actually happening: A part-time massage therapist with a Ph.D. in Trans-Gender Studies is trying to explain how you, personally, are responsible for exploiting women in Afghanistan.
What you think is happening: You were told to buzz off.
What is actually happening: You were told to buzz off. The old joke about New Yorkers using “buzz off” to mean “have a nice day” was invented so we can tell rubes to buzz off more often.
“I can’t figure out your taxis. How can you tell when they’re available? Why don’t the drivers speak English?”
- How to tell if a cab is available: Look at the light-bar on the top of the car. If the center light is illuminated, the car’s out of service and is on its way to a repair station. However, if the center light is dark, that cab is open! And though available cabs have been known to skip customers, it’s most often because the customers weren’t waving manically enough on the sidewalk. Be a true New Yorker: Stand in the street and act like a crazy person.
- All drivers do speak English, just not to all passengers. All you have to do is know the secret password! Upon hearing the secret password, your driver will turn on the “real” air conditioning, pass back a glass of complimentary champagne, and read aloud the Wall Street Journal during your ride. Yes, the secret password sure makes riding cabs relaxing. We New Yorkers just love the secret password.
“Can’t the liberal news media give the protest movement a rest? Can’t they spend a little time on the “decent” (I know that’s not a word for the media people) story of hope and courage being told by the president? I am sick to my stomach with all these protesters and their ignorant signs.”
So are we! It’s time for some new signs that reflect the real America. And since you’re a delegate—and forced to wave those stupid state banners all night anyway—why not try one of our specially crafted Republican messages to respond to the protesters?
- “The National Debt Wouldn’t Be So Big If You Didn’t Insist On Getting Those Three Advanced Degrees On The Public Dime You Big Nerd!”
- “Conservatives Against Conservation: It Just Makes Sense”
- “If Your Son Really Was Killed In Iraq—And I Kind Of Doubt That Since You’re A Liberal—Did You Ask Yourself If He Should Have Tried Harder?”
- “‘An Eye For An Eye’ Will Make The World Blind, But Would You Rather Go ‘A Tooth For A Tooth’ With Some Terrorist Who’s Never Been To A Dentist?”
- “Compassion Means Caring For Your Fellow Man, After I Get Mine”
- “I Don’t Have To Live Here!”
- “Do Not Replace A Leader Who’s Shown As Much Leadership As A Sock Doll While In The Midst Of Overseeing Vast Corruption, Committing Citizens’ Lives To Schemes That Endanger The Entire World, Ruining The Environment, Weakening Our Defenses Against Terrorism, Destroying Allegiances, And In Most Scenarios Behaving Illogical, Shortsighted, Childish, And Morally Reprehensible—That’s Stupid!”
- “If Kerry Is A War Hero, Where Is His Flight Suit?”
“As a loyal member of the NRA, it’s great to see how the gun-control measures I supported have put automatic weapons in the hands of your most dangerous criminals. Keep supporting freedom!”
Yeah, will do, thanks.