Melissa Bell, Washington Post blogger, “bemoans” the end of a rival city’s latest (inadvertent) tourist advertisement:
It’s official: the Bronx Zoo Cobra has been found. I’m glad the poor zookeepers can get back to business as usual, but I do mourn for one thing: the end of one of the best New York City advertisements since the ubiquitous “I ♥ NY” came on the scene.
While the zookeepers claim the snake was in the zoo enclosure all along, folks on Twitter know the adolescent Egyptian Cobra has been out on the town.
For the past four days, @BronxZoosCobra has tweeted the length and breadth of Manhattan, making those of us outside the city limits long for Herald Square. She dined on a Magnolia Bakery cupcake. She snapped a photograph of an immigrant on Ellis Island with an uncanny resemblance to Jon Favreau. She marveled at how tiny people looked from the top of the Empire State Building (“All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice”). She even made it out to Yankee Stadium for opening day. From the snake’s eye view, the city looks good and tasty.
What could have been a public relations problem for the city — Don’t travel to New York! Deadly snake on the lose! — instead wound up being a tweeting advertisement hissing the praises of the Big Apple. Who wouldn’t want to be out and about with #snakeonthetown?
This is the difference between a company town like DC, a place that exists as the hub for (and at the mercy of ) a single industry, and a “world class” city like NYC. A city like Terry Prachett’s Ankh-Morpork, varied and robust enough to warp the very space-time continuum to serve its desires. I grew up in the outer boroughs of New York, and couldn’t wait to move elsewhere, but when I told my Midwestern college dormmates that I’d lost the secret lottery whereby a certain percentage of NYC natives were required to leave to make room for the hordes of wanna-bes… a surprising percentage of them believed me.
And yet, the national capital has plenty of accomplished professional
liars lobbyists, advertisers and other self-identified “creative class” members within its boundaries. Surely there must be a public-spirited individual who could design a twitter feed to challenge the Bronx Zoo Cobra?
But I am not that person. The first image I came up with was #NotcongresscritterEricCantor tweeting from the Senate Floor, “All the voters look like little mice up there. Delicious little mice!”