Jack Tame: A few million friends dropping in for Christmas

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Christmas in New York is a particularly tourist-heavy time. Photo / AP
Christmas in New York is a particularly tourist-heavy time. Photo / AP

Fifty-four million. Dithering, sky-gazing, gaily bewildered and cheerily lost. By New Year's Eve in Times Square, little more than a decade since 9/11, who would believe New York City will have recorded its highest number of annual tourists?

I would - I've hosted the majority on my lounge room floor.

And all this cash the city's supposed to have reaped from the "I-Heart-New-York " throngs?

I've not yet seen a dime, though by way of some guilt-appeasing Antipodean rent I've eaten more pineapple lumps this year than I ever did at home. Only a country that chose a Kiwi as its national animal could have "lumps" as its apparent national food.

Yes, with 54 million, it's mattress-to-mattress, marae-style living in my Spanish Harlem pad. It's the result of convenience and prickly pockets rather than a measure of my popularity.

"We were in Year Eight together at school, were we?" Hmm.

"Eurgh. I guess you can stay."

Just take my advice and empty before lights out, or you'll be pirouetting blind between the sleeping-bagged masses and no one cares how bad you have to go, a kick to the teeth is a kick to the teeth.

Of course, Christmas in New York is a particularly tourist-heavy time, crawling with wistful romantics.

But any tourists heading north for the 25th should keep in mind a few salient reminders:

Snow looks good in pictures but the unfortunate by-product is that it's generally very cold. And slippery.

And dog shit freezes, too, so you know you've stepped in it only once your Ugg Boots are thawing next to your marae-style mattress in the middle of my lounge room floor.

And you aren't the only one with rose-tinted notions of a white Christmas in New York. You want hot-roasted chestnuts and to skate at the Rockefeller and sip eggnog under the tree? So do about 54 million others.

In lieu of pineapple lumps this Christmas, I'll be asking for a pretty packet of patience instead.

And I'll be getting out. Because as romantic as a white New York Christmas might seem, I'd take a Kiwi one any day.

- Herald on Sunday

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