Where’s the White House?: A NYC Musing

So I am back from NYC and this is the last of my NYC musings. The last few days of my time in NYC I had no agenda. This was both a blessing and a curse. While it was awesome to get to just explore, it also left me with a lot of free time on my hands. I don’t know if this was a “idle hands/devil’s playground” situation or what, but I decided that it would be only appropriate to take advantage of the last of the summer tourists in NYC. I decided to head up to the High Line and do some sketches. It’s a pretty location and, with my headphones in, was quite relaxing. But then I witnessed the tomfoolery that was people not knowing the name of the World Trade Center or the Statue of Liberty. It struck me as fascinating that so few people who were in the city “site seeing” had very little understanding of what sites they were seeing.

Allow me to set up this scenario: I, wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and sunglasses, pulled out a map and pretended to be the most tourist-y of tourists. I then proceeded to walk up to random people and ask them where the White House was located. For those of you who don’t get it, the White House isn’t in New York.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 2.30.55 PM

The Results: People are hysterically bad at geography. I asked 10 people this question. That’s a pretty small sample but honestly I didn’t feel like conducting a full experiment for the APA. Of the 10 people, 2 of them were able to say, “I’m sorry sir but the White House is in Washington DC”. And of course there was the one fashion forward person  who was trying to direct me to a White House/ Black Market, which was perhaps even more comical than the incorrect geography. But you would be surprised what you can accomplish with a serious tone and a sincere smile. I was able to convince the uncomfortable tourist that, ‘no, I’m absolutely certain that the White House is in the city.” It’s so fascinating to see the power of suggestion. If you hint at it enough, people will slowly begin to think that the White House is located at the top of Central Park. It isn’t. But it is quite humorous to think that there are now some tourists walking around NYC who are now questioning everything they thought to be true about New York landmarks. You’re welcome world.