Posts tagged “New York City

I (Heart) Moscow?

Posted on July 17, 2012

Moscow city officials are searching for their own version of Milton Glaser’s “I Love New York” campaign. Through an open competition they hope to encourage the creation of an “original and organic logo to project Moscow as a global tourism center.” New York’s famous campaign, as Art Blake describes in his essay on New York City in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, is credited with rebranding New York City as a tourist-friendly destination after decades of urban decline. It is understandable that Moscow, with its many connections to New York in terms of immigration and cultural outlook, would seek to imitate New York’s success. The right combination of design talent, urban management, and timing must, however, come together for places to truly reposition their global…

Tourists Trampling Gotham?

Posted on May 25, 2012

The latest post on the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, “Attention High Line Tourists,” demonstrates well one kind of reaction to the impact of tourism in cities: signs warning tourists to tread lightly in surrounding neighborhoods. The High Line, of course, refers to one of the most decidedly “in” places to “do” in Manhattan: a former elevated railroad right of way recast as a linear green space three years ago. The High Line works as a tourist attraction not just because it affords a new perspective on the city but also because it passes through neighborhoods that promise steady use and points of interest. Yet the High Line isn’t an unalloyed success in everyone’s eyes. If artists are often the spark that ignites gentrification,…

Skyscrapers: Selling Themselves, Selling the City

Posted on May 8, 2012

In recent weeks and months, American skyscrapers have been much in the news. For the time being, the United States does not appear poised to retake the title for tallest skyscraper (a distinction that has belonged to cities in Malaysia, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates for more than a decade). With superlative height no longer the most viable way to generate excitement and visibility, we are seeing aesthetics move squarely into the arena of skyscraper competition. Just over a week ago, 1 World Trade Center topped the Empire State Building on its way to a symbolic 1,776-foot height (when the antenna is included), returning the distinction of tallest New York skyscraper downtown after an eleven-year absence. Not to be outdone, the Empire State Building’s owners, according…

Wall, South Dakota’s Great White Way

Posted on May 5, 2012

Wall, South Dakota. Population: 766. Not the first place you would expect to find the “Great White Way.” As the Rapid City Journal reported recently, the block of Main Street in front of the famed Wall Drug (once a simple drug store but now a block-long, tourist-oriented strip mall) is nearing the completion of a project that involved repaving the roadway in concrete and the addition of a row of old streetlamp standards that seems lifted from turn-of-the-century Broadway in New York City. Wall Drug, which singlehandedly put Wall on the tourist map in the 1930s when its owners decided to reorient their drug store toward tourists passing through town, long ago became a western-themed attraction in itself. Its image has been anything but…

The Tourism Mayors

Posted on April 30, 2012

If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets his way, when visitors peer into the silvery curvature of Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate, they will see the world. The mayor recently challenged Chicago tourism officials to bring 50 million tourists a year to his city by 2020, which would represent a 25 percent increase over the current figure. More critically, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, he wants Chicago to raise its profile by finding ways to attract a far larger share of international tourists than its current paltry 4.3 percent. With three recent additions, Chicago now maintains eight international tourism offices worldwide, still well short of several other major American cities. It even has its own official tourism theme song, although, as the Huffington Post notes,…

Rethinking the Wharf’s Edge

Posted on April 26, 2012

Just 27 years after it opened with much hoopla, New York’s South Street Seaport is on the rocks. As David W. Dunlap of the New York Times reported last week, the onetime popular “festival marketplace” was well suited to New York City in the 1970s-80s. At a time when its dockland areas, like much of the city (even Times Square), presented the specter of crime and dinginess, successful attractions like South Street Seaport created insular realms that nevertheless appeared to connect organically with the city’s maritime heritage at wharf’s edge. The festival marketplace concept repackaged abandoned or underutilized structures like public markets, factories, and wharf sheds as tourist-oriented shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Popularized by the James Rouse Company’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston in 1976,…

Invention and Imitation

Posted on April 22, 2012

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is also highly lucrative. Imitation is an ironic hallmark of an industry that on one level is predicated on destinations’ ability to offer a unique experience. Tourists seek novelty for its potential to grant a sense of discovery, but it does not take long for entrepreneurs to recognize a good idea and attempt to replicate it as nearly as possible. Along with tourists’ restlessness when the extraordinary becomes mundane, imitation is a prime reason for tourist destinations to embellish their attractions or reinvent themselves. Early railroad-age travelers hoped to see “real” Indians as a way of eluding the reach of crass, market-oriented America (symbolized by the industrial cities from which many tourists hailed), but their…