The topic of overtourism is much discussed in the tourism business. Things have gotten out of hand in several places throughout the world, generally small locales that are suddenly handling 20 times their local populations:
• Two ships collided in the harbor of Venice in May 2019.
• Climbers are making long lines to ascend Mount Everest.
• The once secret City of Machu Picchu is now overcrowded with tourists. New rules have been established to mitigate problems there.
Here in New York City:
The Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path had to be closed twice in December 2018, when tens of thousands of people crowded it.
There’s been massive overselling of access to the Statue of Liberty, yet we sightseeing guides are being blamed for the overcrowding and have been banned from parts of Liberty and Ellis islands.
In early June 2019, the line to get into the Empire State Building was a whole block long. A 400 foot long block. Assuming 2 to 3 people per group, that’s around a thousand people!
GANYC (ganyc.org), the association of professional tourist guides in New York City, is looking into ways to mitigate overtourism in our city. Many of us members have created new tours in parts of the city that have until now rarely seen tourism. This is to lessen the impact of overtourism from Midtown Manhattan down to Battery Park.
Manhattan is 13 miles or about 21 km long. The south end of Central Park is at 59th Street. A number of people tour Central Park each day, winter and summer. And large numbers of people are in the lower half of the Island from 59th Street down to Battery Park. Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Grand Central, Times Square etc have more people visiting them than ever before.
Then there’s a jump over the Upper East and Upper West sides to 125th Street, the main street of Harlem.
The northernmost numbered street in Manhattan is 227th Street. Virtually no tourism has historically taken place between 125th and 227th, a 102-block stretch.
But that’s changing. There is growing interest in tours of Washington Heights; in visiting Morris-Jumel mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan. Or following winding paths down to the Hudson River shore to see “the little red lighthouse and the great gray bridge.”
Branch out, visitors!
Experience Fort Tryon Park, former private estate for a Wall Street tycoon:
Secrets of Fort Tryon Park
Take a tour from Brooklyn to Manhattan:
Abolitionist Church to African Burial Ground
Or from Manhattan to Brooklyn:
Over The Brooklyn Bridge — To Pizza!
Colleagues have branched out into Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. You can find all these by searching the ‘find a guide’ feature at ganyc.org .
Welcome to New York. #iony