Matt at Pier A, Battery Park, New York, 2006

This was a very cold and miserable Boxing Day and we hopped on the Subway, 1 line, and zoomed down to Battery Park to take a Harbour cruise. It was fine as a cruise but the guide, Arthur, was hilariously crap. He was incomprehensible, ungrammatcial, historically and factually inaccurate, kept referring to small drawings in his hand that no-one could see and emotionally fragile.

Some classics:

“911 was the first time the US has been attacked on home soil by a foreign nation..” If you don’t see why that’s stupid on at least two levels I refer you to the Burning of the Whitehouse in the 1812 War, and which nation was it that attached the Twin Towers, exactly?

“The Brooklyn Bridge is named after Roebling..” Well the Roebling family certainly built it.. or did they?

“The Brooklyn Bridge was built by a cable..” Ah, not the Roeblings, and why is it called the Brooklyn Bridge then?

“An Archipelago is an island surrounded by water..” As opposed to an island surrounded by jam?

“Many people aspire to leave Brooklyn and make it big in Manhattan, I know I have dreamed of leaving.. Barry Manilow.” Does Barry know?

“On 9/11, after the accident..” So they didn’t mean to do it? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and all that has been a terrible mistake?

“1/12th of all the world’s gold is stored here, under the ocean.” The fact that he then said that there were 12 federal reserve banks perhaps suggests where he was coming from but not where he was going to..

“No-one builds anything in New York anymore. Not cars, not newspapers, well yes newspapers, but nothing else..” This was as we passed a construction site so maybe he was getting manufacture and build confused?

I could go on but most of the rest would be sheer nonsensical use of English that would look poor even in a book. I just felt so sorry for the poor Asians and tourists who either didn’t understand a word he said, or even worse, did understand the words and absorbed some of the sheer rubbish he was talking..

Ah well, he said that a recent cruiser, a Manhattan native, said he’d learnt more in the 40 minute cruise than in the last 40 years, I do hope he forgets it all again soon..

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