Those Damn Europeans Are Taking Over New York

Have you seen them? The Europeans? They’re everywhere! In our fancy bistros, on line at the Apple store, spending their fancy-pantzy valuable Euros while we suffer through this intolerable non-recession. The patriots at the New York Times finally sounded the warning call over this European “invasion” that’s transforming New York into the “Walmart of hip.”

Their party is raging just as the hangover has started to set in for Americans. Frictions do arise — especially in a summer of looming recession, where many locals do not feel rich enough or secure enough to travel abroad themselves. (And let’s not even get into their weeks of summer vacation).

The Times goes on to tell the pitiful stories of average Americans jealous of newly-wealthy Europeans: Steven, a 45-year-old investment manager who worries native New Yorkers are becoming an “endangered species” (quick, call the EPA!); Randi, a 30-year-old Upper West Side ad gal who can’t afford Prada bags; and Polly, a magazine editor turned blogger who hates the chic-bistro “turf war” that pits us against our cultural brethren.

Get this: Polly went to Bergman to buy her fiance shoes to match his wedding tux, and she had to wait for FIVE MINUTES behind Europeans who were wearing sneakers and bike shorts. The horror!

These aren’t the landed aristocratic Europeans whose visits we can deign to accept. Ugh, no, these are those disgustingly common commoners who shouldn’t be able to afford our enviable lifestyle.

These are “people with more modest incomes, who wouldn’t just walk up and say, ‘Hey, let me get a table’ if they’re back home in London, where it’s too expensive to go to Boujis,” Mr. Thomas said, referring to a popular club in that city’s Kensington district. “But in New York, they can get away with it.”

So this is what the British felt like for the past sixty years. Please Ben Bernanke, put our financial house in order so we can reclaim the mantle of shameless consumerism for ourselves.

They’ll Take Manhattan, in Cash [The New York Times]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dragonfire1481 says:

    Why on earth is this on consumerist??

    I don’t get it.

  2. mgy says:

    Man, life is so interesting in New York.

    /rolls eyes

  3. PeteyNice says:


    Because it describes the typical experience of being a consumer in America today?

  4. gliscameria says:

    Anything is better than hipsters.

  5. Joedel263 says:

    my experience.. (that won’t get posted because you people don’t like me!)

    I was in Au Bon Pain, waiting patiently in line when a kid (about 20) with a heavy French accent cuts in front of everyone, literally pushing them out of the way. He literally shoved the woman who was at the front of the line so he could pay for his baguette. “Wow, I guess some people are too good to wait in line” I commented. my mom, standing behind me, asked the kid what the hell was wrong with him. “It’s a French restaurant” he replied. I about died laughing, but that’s not the point.. I asked him what he would think if the next time I was at McDonald’s I pushed him so I could get my food faster. He gave me one of those “Je ne parle pas anglais” looks and walked away. (the cashier got an earful from everyone waiting in line too, because she actually rang him out..) On the way out the door we happened to walk by his table.. “Damn Tourists!” and the entire rest of the restaurant nodded in agreement..

  6. Eric1285 says:

    So what if they want to spend money here? The more the merrier! I hope they keep pumping their euros into our struggling economy.

  7. PsychicPsycho3 says:


    Please read the comment code and/or go away.

  8. Aristeia says:

    I think this is great, on a couple different levels.

    First, I love the tongue-in-cheek reporting made by Carey. So cheeky! love it.

    Second, this is exactly what America needs now. So our dollar’s weak. Fine! GIVE US EVERYONE ELSE’S MONEY. EXPORT = GOOD.

    (i realize this isn’t the classic definition of export, but selling to foreigners is essentially the same.)

    Hell, we need the help. People shouldn’t get all uppity about that fact. And it ain’t like Americans haven’t been doing this elsewhere.

  9. humphrmi says:

    Funny thing about global economics. A European standing in line in front of you at a high-end restaurant or retail store is paying taxes they’ll never recoup for services they’ll never receive, and pumping money into our economy that you now don’t have to.

  10. t325 says:

    @humphrmi: Yep, that’s how it is. I’m trying to pull off a trip to London and Berlin next year (the dollar being worth nothing makes it a bit more difficult) and if I go, I’ll be paying taxes for shit I’ll never see. So it’s all mutual.

  11. humphrmi says:

    @humphrmi: And I would add to my post, if I could edit it:

    1. George Bush should send them tax rebates to spend here,

    2. Let ’em take over New York.

  12. humphrmi says:

    @t325: Actually, funny thing is, you can get your VAT taxes paid back. Both London and Germany offer rebates at the airport. WE don’t. Hah!

  13. Both of our neighbors in our office building are European Fashion Companies. We absolutely adore them.

    Europeans really add an international flavor and flair to what used to be stuffy, formal New York City.

    NYC was just too business, conservative oriented. The new European influence gives it a more Parisian flavor.

    Europeans are probably attracted to the safety of the city, as well as this being lively 24/7 with entertainment after working long hours.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    If they have an Eton-raised, Oxford-educated grandson of someone that aided Hitler that prances around pretending to be a cowboy, let’s do our best to get him elected as Prime Minister for eight years. By then we can take advantage of the weak Euro and bathe in sweet, sweet revenge was we vacation across the pond.
    Oh damn. They don’t even have fake cowboys in Europe.

    …Never mind.

  15. synergy says:

    @humphrmi: A major mall here in town has a huge office on one end of the mall that’s expressly for foreigners known to frequent said mall to apply for their money to be returned. Smart shoppers know what that giant office is for.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, they can shop all they want at Bergman all they like. Just don’t let them buy the Chrysler Building, okay?

  17. So…angry…want to choke Polly…self-entitled bitch…

    Don’t worry, I’ll add another post that’s a little more intelligent, but I absolutely had to get that out of my system. This is why American tourists have a bad rap – it’s because of people like Polly Blitzer. They had absolutely no problem with vacationing in Europe throwing around the revered dollar, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, and people other than Americans are vacationing – in OUR COUNTRY, no less – we wonder how these visitors can be so rude, rubbing their wealth in our faces!

  18. humphrmi says:

    @Trai_Dep: Just an FYI, while the Chrysler Building is owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the land it sits upon is still owned by The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. ADIC pays the school a lease every year, which enables the school to offer 100% scholarships to every student that attends.

    Just, again, an FYI. Bring the Euro (or in this case Central Asia) money here!

  19. And I would add to my post, if I could edit:

    1. Fuck you, Polly Blitzer.

    2. Seriously.

  20. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to apologize for having Polly Blitzer and her ilk in our city. Seriously, not all New Yorkers (not even a large percent) are like that. If any of you visit New York, I suggest you get in the Subway, and ask anyone who seems to speak English how to get somewhere (even if you know). There is at least an 80% chance that any random stranger will help you with a smile.

    I, for one, welcome all tourists to my city, as long as they are polite and bathe. I don’t give a shit what you were, and I am fine waiting behind you at stores and restaurant. The presence of foreigners is what makes New York the capital of the world. Without their influence, New York would not have the best global food in the World, and architecture, and untold numbers of other influences. Without foreign money, New York would not be one of the richest cities or earth, almost certainly able to secede from the US (and definitely from New York State) and be perfectly fine economically (not that that’s a good idea).

    So yeah, come to New York, spend your Euros, or Francs, or Riyal, or any type of Dollar; and if you see me on the Subway, ask me how to get wherever you want to go.

  21. *were=wear

  22. RabbitDinner says:

    Man, it really sucks that Europeans are coming over here and spending money.

  23. It’s like a clearance sale to them: “Last chance for 35% off! Everything must go!”

  24. OsiUmenyiora says:

    Central Park this morning was like Euro central — nobody was speaking English anywhere. Which is fine with me, the Euro tourists are for the most part polite and unassuming and they’re keeping NYC afloat. So bring ’em on.

  25. In my half-asleep state, I thought I was reading Gawker, or that you guys briefly resurrected a variation on the super-controversial Red States Lose Consumerist post of so long ago.

  26. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Let the Europeans come over here and spend their money. Our weak dollar is forcing my company to buy from US sources rather than EU ones and that is a good thing for us.

    I’m going back to Europe in about a month. I’ll bring a bottle of wine home with me but it will stink to buy it in Euros! Forget the wine – Lemoncello instead!

  27. TechnoDestructo says:

    IIRC, most/all of the Consumerist people are New Yorkers.

    They can’t help it, it warps their perception of reality. People from LA, Seoul, and Tokyo have the same problem. And probably a dozen other cities around the world.

  28. evslin says:

    @RabbitDinner: I know, what a drag!

  29. Morticia says:

    How insular this Polly woman is.

  30. Benny Gesserit says:

    Every city, town and hamlet has any number of “Pollys” – it’s just a fact. Their personal causes may differ: Polly felt her lifestyle jostled, others may not like the colour of the stranger’s skin or feel they “talk funny.”

    Polly fails to see (or chooses to ignore) these Euros are helping the stores keep their heads above water in dark financial times.

    “Pollys” show up in articles like this because, in this piece for example, someone who told the author “Gee, I don’t mind Europeans. They’re awesome!” would be boring.

  31. Pro-Pain says:

    Polly wants a cracker
    Think I should get off her first
    I think she wants some water
    To put out the blow torch…


  32. woot says:

    Trust me, European consumers are feeling the pinch too – which is what makes visiting the U.S. such a welcome bargain break.

    Why gamble with the weather at EuroDisney when you can guarantee it in Orlando and have a lot more options for the same price? Why buy an engagement ring in the UK when you can pick one up in New York with a romantic weekend thrown in and still spend about the same? These are smart consumers.

    While a low dollar is highly inconvenient for Americans visiting Europe, it’s great for U.S. tourism and – more importantly – U.S. exports (which means more jobs).

    As an added bonus, studies show that people that visit America leave with a much more favorable impression than they arrived with (kind of a “don’t like the foreign policy, but love the country/people” attitude). It’s all good.

  33. krispykrink says:

    @dragonfire1481: If you can’t detect Carey’s snark and sarcasm, you fail at life. No, really you do. They did a study about it and I’m sure they spent a lot of money on it.

  34. chiieddy says:

    @humphrmi: They offer, but never pay out. I gave them all my receipts, signed the forms, it’s been four years. Nothing.

  35. pax says:

    @Crim Law Geek: Very well said. I’ve given directions to tourists more times than I care to count, but have they ever failed to smile and say thank you? I don’t think so. NYC is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in the US, and for the sake of the city’s economic problems at the moment as well as our reputation, I agree: Keep ’em coming!

  36. Angryrider says:

    This surprises me? So? I’m already pissed at the fact that hipsters are trying to take over our minority neighborhoods. Lower East Side, Bushwick, you name it.

  37. pax says:

    Oh, and to Miss Polly Blitzer: If you can still afford your Jimmy Choo shoes and your Tory Burch dress, your financial situation? Not so dire. Kthxbai.

  38. digitalhen says:

    ummmm. i’m british. live in Manhattan, and about to stand in-line at the Apple store.

  39. @jisrael1

    Exactly what I was going to say. Americans weren’t self conscious about throwing our money around overseas when their economies weren’t doing as well as ours. Suck-it Polly Blitzer, and take your Gucci and Prada brand crap and shove it where the sun don’t shine you prissy little Amerileetist

  40. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    Someone take this Polly Blitzer and throw her into the Hudson! Nothing like showing your true colours (get used to the spelling) like being hostile to ancestorial tourists. (psst, atleast they’re not the littering Quebec shore bennies…that contribute to Jersey’s shore economy, oops)

  41. I cannot fathom anyone complaining about money coming into the US instead of out…

  42. gqcarrick says:

    I live in Western NY state. I personally wish NYC would break off the state and get swallowed up by the ocean. NYC and its infrastructure is just a financial burden for the rest of the state. Maybe if we didn’t have NYC the NY state congressmen and women would realize that they need to take care of the WHOLE state.

  43. FangDoc says:

    @Crim Law Geek: I can personally vouch for the friendliness of native New Yorkers to tourists. I live in south central PA, which can be a little podunk at times, and when I talk about my 4-5 times/year trips to NYC with neighbors and coworkers I still occasionally encounter the stereotype of, “but aren’t New Yorkers rude?”

    I’m doing my best to dispel this myth. 75%+ of the times I have opened a map on a Manhattan sidewalk, someone has stopped to ask if I needed directions. Same with on the subway. People at adjacent tables at restaurants have asked if we’re enjoying our visit, what we’ve seen so far, and have offered advice on destinations. In April, a man mistakenly gave us bad info regarding which stops an express train was making, advised us to get off at the next stop, and then when he realized his mistake, nearly broke his leg trying to get us back on the train.

    The non-Pollys I’ve encountered love their city and want to share it with the world. In sharing my stories, I’m hoping to help them.

  44. Meathamper says:

    Tell them to have their schnitzels and stuff it.

  45. Balfegor says:

    @Trai_Dep: “Oh damn. They don’t even have fake cowboys in Europe.”

    Uh, have you ever been to Germany? No lack of cowboys.

  46. Onlyy thing worse than Europeans in NY is New Yorkers and other Benny’s down at the Jersey Shore during the summer. Go Home Bennys!

  47. sir_eccles says:

    The funny thing about these Europeans who come to NY to shop is that the majority of them are illegally evading tax and duty on their purchases.

    The limit on the value of gifts you can bring back into the UK without declaring them at customs is something of the order of £145 (the dollar isn’t that weak). They are evading duty and VAT on top of the duty which can be a hell of a lot.

  48. CaptZ says:

    Not just New York. I was in Florida visiting my mom and Europeans and Canadians out numbered Americans on Hollywood Beach by at least 4 to 1. I am not complaining as their woman are much more down to earth and beautiful as American and Americanized woman and much less materialistic. How sad is that?

  49. 00447447 says:

    The Consumerist and the NYT are both suffering from a case of head-up-assitis. This is an affliction that is quite common to New Yorkers. Probably something in the water.

    Anyway, I’d rather hang with eurotrash than with the cast of sex in the city and day.

  50. Trai_Dep says:

    @TechnoDestructo: You mean people actually live in places besides the twenty best cities in the world? Really?! Why?

  51. dragonfire1481 says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: I wasn’t intending to violate the comment code at all, nor was I making the comment to be snarky.

    I was asking an honest question. This article to me does not seem to have much to it nor be particularly relevant to any consumer issues (unless of course you live in New York) and I figured there were better things to post on.

    I don’t think it’s against the comment code to question the validity of a post.

  52. DoctorMD says:

    We need to get some Parisian consultants to teach New Yorkers how to properly treat (like assholes) and deal (f* off) with tourists. Then we can truely return the favor.

  53. atypicalxian says:

    Chances are, the people quoted in the article aren’t even from New York originally. It’s been my experience that the native New Yorkers are more down-to-earth, where the yuppie poseur imports are the ones with the attitudes.

    Go back to Ohio/Maine/Maryland/New Mexico, Steven, Randi and Polly.

  54. atypicalxian says:

    @Angryrider: I gotta say, at least they’re making the neighborhoods more livable.

  55. toxbrux says:

    (Let me preface this by saying I live in Belgium, so I feel somewhat qualified to comment as I mix with “euros” every day.) The post itself is a bit misleading, imo. It makes European travellers out to be reckless spenders.

    A good number of Europeans spend their euros, pounds and kroner at hostels in “not-Manhattan”, or couchsurf for free; they take the subway everywhere, or do the old fashioned thing – they’ll walk to the next destination if they can get there in under an hour; forget dining in fancy places, that’s usually a “crown jewel” in their stay, along with an I <3 NY shirt.

    A lot of European travellers do as they would travelling around Europe, and eat at cheap places where the food isn’t great, but keeps you full for a few hours, or they hit up a supermarket and pack a lunch. They limit themselves to one or two tourist attractions per day, and stay as long as is humanly possible. When you see them forking out $20 bills, you can be sure that that purchase was planned several months in advance.

    Obviously $1 is less than €1, but it’s still possible for American travellers to do the same.

  56. shufflemoomin says:

    Snobby. stuck-up, elitist bastards. Don’t worry NY, your border and customs clowns at JFK make it a shitty enough experience to come there (I’ve been twice) so soon enough we Europeans will visit somewhere who welcomes visitors and can see how tourism is helping their shaky economy. Hello Canada…

  57. laurencemulchrone says:

    well, sorry for pumping money into your crappy economy

  58. Bunch of euro-haters. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  59. @humphrmi: “2. Let ’em take over New York”

    Yes, please. European riff-raff is definitely better than the New York riff-raff.

    I live in New York. I speak from experience.

  60. Elsmooth says:

    People are just haters in general; the grass is always greener on the other side and all that. There’s a similar issue with Swedes over here in Santa Monica.

    The perception (or reality) is that we got it rough and they have it easy. Oh well, people get jealous, you just gotta deal with it.

  61. MrMold says:

    For those unfamiliar with the tax revenue dispersal, read your budget. Here in Pennsyltucky the local yokels weep copious tears over the taxes they ‘send’ to Philly. Oh, the PA budget clearly shows that Philly loses money on the deal. For every $7.00 in Philly tax, $6.00 goes to the hinterlands. For every $1.00 of rural tax, nearly $8.00 comes back (feds are involved too). If Philly (or NYC) left, the hillcretins wouldn’t cover their own expenses for the year.

    It’s just such a loverly fantasy that all the ills of the world stem from the evilbig city.

  62. Trai_Dep says:

    @DoctorMD: I’ve found Parisians to be quite nice, actually. You simply need to make some effort into being a good guest and doors (and smiles) open. Same as New Yorkers: the ones that complain about rude Parisians (or Manhattanites) probably need to look in the mirror for the cause. (shrug)

  63. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    One Time, at band camp…….

  64. Meg Marco says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Wrong.

  65. Meathamper says:

    @Trai_Dep: I remember being in the (shitty) Paris Metro, and there were these guys who jumped over a barrier and unlocked it from the other side, and ushered people in! That was hilarious!

  66. pollyannacowgirl says:

    I was just saying this today. For some reason, Central Park was flooded with French people today. Not that I mind one single bit. They’re polite and genial and I get to practice my French comprehension while eavesdropping. And they’re helping the local economy.

  67. pollyannacowgirl says:

    Oh, and it’s absolutely true about Parisians being perfectly nice. The trick is to not wear jeans and sneakers in Paris – dressing up a little is important. I think they have great contempt for the “ugly American” in jeans, T-shirt and honking white sneakers (I do too!).

    And you must TRY to speak French. They will usually rescue you by responding in English, but if you rudely assume and start out speaking it, they will pretend not to know any.

  68. JohnMc says:

    Its funny, New Yorkers usually calling people from flyover country hicks. Now who is the hick? Where is that NYC cosmopolitan hospitality they always tout? The people in this article ought to get a clue.

  69. bwcbwc says:

    @jisrael1: You mean with your own…? As for her fiance who is getting the shoes to go with the tux: “I pity the fool.”
    @woot: Guaranteed weather in Orlando this time of year is thunderstorms most of the afternoon. Kind of reduces the value of your all-day park-hopper ticket when there’s 2-4 hours knocked out of the middle where the rides are all closed due to lightning.
    @atypicalxian: Actually, the distinguishing characteristic of the people in the article seems to be over-privileged snobs who’ve never worked a day in their lives. There’s plenty of those in NY and the surrounding area (The Hamptons, say), as well as other parts of the country.
    @sir_eccles: Even if they pay the duty and the VAT, it’s still cheap enough to fly over here and shop for a few big-ticket items. I’m sure customs authorities in their home countries are aware of the shopping sprees and making examples of periodically searching enough passengers to ensure that everyone else in line questions the odds of getting away with it.

  70. OsiUmenyiora says:

    @gqcarrick: That’s one of the most ignorant comments I’ve ever seen on Consumerist or anywhere really. Buffalo and most of upstate New York is a financial cess pool that’s only kept afloat by the billions and billions that NYC funnels upstate. The city sends Albany billions more in taxes than it gets back in services. You need to learn son.

  71. Justifan says:

    they are having the opposite problem in europe. americans make up the biggest group of foreign tourists that visits europe, and we stay the longest and spend the most. and now thats dropping off because of high costs, so its rather poor news for their tourist industry. so its not all one sided.

  72. woot says:

    A little nugget from todays Orlando Sentinel: “spending by international tourists [in Orlando] has ballooned 22 percent so far this year — to more than $57 billion.”

    This city would be nothing without tourists, and we know it. As an example, last night I watched while 3 lanes of traffic gave way to a family on vacation who had been in a left turn lane, but then realized they needed to turn right instead. No honking of horns, no yelling, and no drama. Just a large dose of courtesy and empathy. This is one of the reasons I love Orlando. If you’re thinking of visiting, you’ll be more than welcome.

  73. ckaught78 says:

    Don’t you mean “in queue ” at the apple store?

  74. malcs says:

    But its just so cheap comparitively in NY!!!

    Oh and Bouji’s is absolutely terrible. much happier in Gilgamesh or Movida.

  75. Since it’s been mentioned above that living in NYC warps your percieved reality (and it does, I’ve lived there), I will offer my home to the consumerist staff for a weekend fieldtrip to the country so that they can see how things are outside the concrete jungle.

    Seriously. I take weekend trips to NYC, you guys are welcome to drive a couple hours down 95 and sit by the bay with me and drink some beers and see how it’s done on the farm.

  76. Mistrez_Mish says:

    And they stand around in MASSIVE groups, right in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking all pedestrian traffic while they take ages to decipher a map!

    But yeah, even so… the tourists are fine! :)

    The only thing that bugs me is the huge line around the Empire State building. Whenever I go into the Walgreen’s there, I’ve noticed that the tourists like to stand right in front the doors (worse when it’s the rotating door). Not fun.

  77. kthxbai says:

    I love the europeans. They like my tight pants and my arrogance as I skate down broadway… They like it when I wave at the red busses… If they feed me euros, they can take me home with them too. If only the women were hot….

  78. malvones says:

    NYC should be thankful for the money Europeans are still bringing in (I’m sure realtors are).

    Let’s see how long that lasts, since the UK, Spain and other European countries are already facing economic slowdowns.

  79. SinisterMatt says:

    I see Europeans. They’re everywhere. They don’t even know they’re European.

    Seriously, as someone said, having them come here is a good thing, as they come and spend their money here, which pumps up the economy a little more.


  80. OMG! Ponies! says:

    First of all, if you were a real New Yorker, you wouldn’t be in your UWS apartment in Manhattan; you’d be getting on the Jitney to the Hamptons. Stop bitching.

    New York is still in America, right? And generally sweeping gun bans are still unconstitutional, right? Stop whining with a pen and do something about it.

    In rabbit season, you can hunt rabbit; in duck season, you can hunt duck.

    Summer in NY is tourist season. Get hunting.

  81. zgori says:


    NYC tax revenue is subsidizing every school, road and person in your town. It would be a pit without it. What’s more, state laws are so screwed up that your backwoods politicians have a voice on everything from our parking rates to our bus routes. Believe me, you’re far better off for having NYC around than we are for having you here.

    As far as the euro-tourists, I have no idea why busload after busload spends $68 to $115 each to ride around my neighborhood on a double decker bus. (Seriously, the buses I ride cost just $2 and they don’t have the annoying narration.) But if that’s how they want to spend their Euros, I’m fine with it.

  82. OMG! Ponies! says:

    @zgori: They’re shopping for apartments. The reason 2BRs are rare as hen’s teeth and 3BRs cost so damned much is simple supply-and-demand.

    Landlords break them up into studios and 1BRs and sell them to Europeans who buy them as pied-a-terres.