Walking to Times Square.

DAY 2
of the 30-Day Blog Challenge, 2011

The funny thing about Times Square is you would rarely ever see native or longtime New Yorkers roaming around. Even the subject of this landmark alone can make eyes roll, especially if you bring it up to a very, very busy, Blackberry-toting local.

To be honest, there have been times when I’ve adopted this sentiment, and the last place I would ever want to meet up with anybody is midtown West, or Theater District, or Toys “R” Us (unless you work in Condé Nast, have tickets to a show, or are eight years old).

However, the universe seems to be sending a message, because even though I consciously and intentionally NOT plan on being in Times Square, I always end up there, for one reason or another. For instance, a friend whom I haven’t seen in a long time may want to try out the new Shake Shack branch. Or, an impromptu West 34th St. H&M shopping trip with house guests may turn into a leisurely stroll up north and a picture-taking session where the bright lights are. Or, my husband may simply want to line up for Broadway show tickets at TKTS. Even on a day-to-day basis, I don’t escape this busy hub: My yoga studio is just a couple of blocks up, and there’s a Maoz Falafel branch on 43rd and 8th.

During my early days in New York, I took to watching movies in one of the theaters in the district, simply because the area was crowded—ergo, safe—enough to make it okay to see a film alone. Fast-forward to 2011, and taking into account that I was born and raised in the Philippines, I simply akin the mob of tourists and sightseers to the holiday shoppers in SM Megamall, or the weekend crowd in Mall of Asia.

Where the bright lights are.

If you do the math, New Yorkers—migrants and natives alike—should have no reason to be disgruntled by leisurely-walking out-of-towners, clicking away on their cameras.

In 2010, the number of visitors to New York City totalled 48.7 million, up from the previous year’s 45.6 million—both record-breaking numbers with regards to the most-visited city in the United States, according to nycgo.com and travel-industry.uptake.com. Those 48.7 million tourists spent $31 billion last year, and the 45.6 million people who came to town in 2009 spent $28.2 billion and generated $16.6 billion in wages. And even for those who didn’t work in the industry, each household still “benefited by an average of $1,200 in tax savings as a result of travel and tourism.”

I don’t know about you, but I am so not complaining about tourists crowding in the city.

Come one, come all!