Posts tagged “social impact

Ferraris and Swamp Buggies

Posted on August 20, 2012

Mention Naples, Florida, and images of ostentatious wealth quickly come to mind. On any given day, driving its residential streets requires dodging landscape company trailers for the hundreds whose buzzing equipment grooms banyan-lined, palm-studded green carpets of St. Augustine. Surely few places its size have more golf courses, gated “communities,” palatial homes, in-ground swimming pools, posh boutiques, and high-luxury cars (The town’s Ferrari Club is one of several local enthusiasts’ organizations). A trip down Fifth Avenue South conjures a vision that is one part Mediterranean seaside town and one part lifestyle center. It was not always so. For much of the twentieth century, as American Tourism contributor Aaron Cowan of Slippery Rock University argues, Naples mixed downscale “old Florida” with upscale nods to Palm…

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,…

Neighborhood or Hospitality Zone?

Posted on May 9, 2012

The Third Battle of New Orleans* is raging, as reported in yesterday’s Times-Picayune. Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans tourism interests are concerned that the city’s French Quarter and its immediate surrounding neighborhoods and downtown as tourist destinations have failed to rebound as completely as hoped after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The inflow of tourists, 8.75 million last year, is less than the 11 million before Katrina and a far cry from the city’s ambitious goal of 13 million by 2018, which marks the tricentennial of the city’s founding. Landrieu’s father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor forty years ago and was instrumental in creating a much tighter partnership between the municipal government and the tourism industry, but today’s pro-tourism effort builds upon a much more powerful…

Venice Beach’s Battle of the Boardwalk

Posted on April 24, 2012

Venice Beach is widely known for its carefree, bohemian air. Having enticed successive waves of Beats, hippies, punks, roller-derby fiends, and other nonconformists for decades, the funky Los Angeles neighborhood along the Pacific is among the inheritors of a long tradition of quirky enclaves in America: New York’s Greenwich Village, New Orleans’s French Quarter, San Francisco’s North Beach and Haight-Ashbury, Cleveland’s Coventry Village, Miami’s Coconut Grove, and Atlanta’s Little Five Points, to name but a few. This image is so pervasive that few can believe Venice had its origin as a master-planned residential community laced with gondola-plied canals that conjured its Italian namesake, as architectural historian Philip Gruen describes in American Tourism. Like other counterculture havens, Venice Beach became noted for the free-spirited joie…

Profaning the Sacred in Harlem?

Posted on March 19, 2012

The late Hal Rothman, a historian of western tourism, decried the “Devil’s Bargains” that he argued are an ineluctable side effect of dependence on tourism. Over the past few decades, tourists in New York City have begun to outnumber congregants in the pews of many historic Harlem churches.  Seeking the “authenticity” of African American gospel choirs, tourists are subtly or not so subtly changing the dynamics of Sunday morning in Harlem.  Interestingly, as one recent Associated Press story reveals, the presence of camera-toting tourists from around the globe meets with a spectrum of opinions, for the interlopers have the power both to disrupt services and to fill the collection plate with dollars that surely translate into everything from paying the electric bill to tuckpointing…