New York City, once reputed to be a gritty urban hellhole where “only the strong survive,” has now become a vast playground for the wealthy, tourists, and wealthy tourists, particularly Europeans, who are always walking around gesturing rudely like “Wha? [in French].” The island of Manhattan is the epicenter of the rich/ tourist invasion which has rendered what was once the heart of NYC into a mere stage for commerce.
Consequently, ripping off tourists is now a public service.
This city has always ripped off tourists. This city is built on ripping off tourists. The hotels are too expensive. The restaurants are too expensive. The pedi-cabs are too expensive. Every single thing located in the midtown tourist district is too expensive. There are enormous industries in New York City entirely based on ripping off tourists. Even Wall Street is based on ripping off tourists, if you define “tourists” as “everyone not employed on Wall Street.”
So Ahmed Mohammed charged tourists in the Manhattan tourist district $30 for a hot dog. So???? Welcome to New York City, motherfuckers! Anyone who willingly hands over thirty U.S. dollars to a hot dog vendor for a single hot dog is, by definition, someone who deserves to get soaked by the grand hustlers of New York City—the hustlingest city in the world. These suckers will have a great “real” New York story to tell the folks back home. “We couldn’t find any three-card monte, but we did manage to find what the sign said was New York’s very best hot dog!” Everyone wins.
If Ahmed Mohammed had built a shitty “prix-fixe” dinner restaurant charging $60 for a “pre-theater” meal, he would be a respected businessman. If he had dreamt up an opaque financial security that could be packaged and sold off to rubes before it blew up, he’d be a millionaire. But because he only sold an expensive hot dog to tourists, he’s out of work. His only crime was that his hustle wasn’t big enough.
Ahmed Mohammed, the $30 hot dog vendor: we salute you. If we all pitch in and follow your lead, perhaps we can one day make this city so unfriendly that some of us will be able to afford an apartment.