You may remember earlier this spring, when Central New York came up with a slogan too lame to tumble easily from the lips of business people, or draw much more than flies. To refresh your memory, here it is:
New York’s Creative Core. Real. Smart. Easy.
Our nation’s capital is now acting, by committee, to come up with a slogan that will make more people want to visit Washington, D.C. and spend their money there.
“A Capital City” was fine for a while, until a high murder rate in the late 1980s produced an unwanted double meaning. And while residents lined up for “Taxation Without Representation” license plates in 2000, that tagline was more local protest than tourist come-on.
A sampling of submissions range from sober epigrams like “The City of National Monuments” to playful one-liners like “It’s Capital, by George” and “Your Party’s Here!”
Local blogs have been flooded with more irreverent proposals. “Mistakes Were Made,” “Where Attorneys Roam” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?” are some of the printable ones.
The rap on Washington has long been that it’s a one-industry town where they roll up the sidewalks at night, and most people you see on the streets are intent on nothing more than getting to work, getting lunch, or getting home.
There’s some truth in those stereotypes, but on a trip to D.C. during school break earlier this month (see blogging gap on calendar, April 11, 12 and 13) we found friendly people- like the man who delayed his rush to work to help us puzzle out the mysteries of the subway ride-card machine. Nor do you have to look too hard to find something fun to do in the evenings. We also found what may be cutting into tourism the most: the hassles of anti-terrorism security.
There’s no easy answer, right now, to making tourist attractions more accessible, but the precautions must turn away a lot of visitors. We passed a few pleasant words in the hotel elevator with a woman who had arranged, six months earlier, to take a tour of the White House. Only four rooms are open to visitors, and they can carry nothing in. She hadn’t been told that, and was headed back to her hotel room to leave her purse there; she would have to come back and retrieve it after the White House stop to carry the bag through the rest of her day.
The Syracuse Post-Standard tells us today that during that same vacation week, some visitors from CNY stood in line for an hour and a half at the Capitol to pass through a security check and start their tour of the building.
Making things hard for terrorists in Washington means making them hard for tourists, too. But there seems to be no alternative to the roadblocks- physical and mental- that make visiting some major attractions in the nation’s capital far more difficult than it used to be.