When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

11 November 2006

More regional ignorance from the Michelin Guide

I hold in my hands the Michelin Guide New York City, 2007 edition.

Actually, that's not completely correct. What I'm holding in my hands at the moment is my aching head, because I just read this paragraph orienting Michelin readers to my neighborhood (which, disastrously, is now captioned "Greenwich, West Village, and Meatpacking," apparently by a native speaker of French for whom English is a fourth or fifth language.)
Centering on Washington Square, New York's historic bohemia lies between Houston and 14th streets, and contains within it several distinct areas. From Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) to the Bowery, the West Village keeps itself young with New York University's student population. Greenwich Village, bounded by the Hudson River, is the prettiest and most historic of the West Village neighborhoods...

(Michelin Guide New York City, 2007 edition, p. 116.)
The error is further compounded in the descriptions that follow.

As a friend of mine would say, "that's not even wrong." It would have to be more accurate in order to be merely incorrect.

It is, in fact, egregiously, laughably, damnably incorrect.

Michelin has got the situation exactly reversed: Greenwich Village is a container for the West Village, and not the other way around; moreover, the freaking West Village most certainly does not run from Sixth Avenue east to the Bowery. (The particular chunk of real estate they are struggling to describe there is what some people refer to as the "Central Village," and the eastern boundary is Broadway, dammit, and most of us just call it "NYUland" these days because NYU owns most of it.)

Listen up, mes chers rédacteurs:

The boundaries of Greenwich Village are: the Hudson River on the west, 14th St on the north, Broadway on the east, and Houston (pronounced HOW-ston) Street on the south.

The West Village, an enclave within Greenwich Village, arguably begins at Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and goes west to the Hudson, but certainly, once you're west of Seventh Avenue, you're in the West Village, mmmkay?

Also, the "West Village" does not "keep itself young with New York University's student population," because they don't live here; the only young people here who aren't being pushed down the sidewalk in $500 strollers are the underaged bridge-and-tunnel homosexuals who congregate on far-west Christopher Street and the Hudson River piers.

The people who actually live here tend to be rich (or at least well-to-do) old (or at least middle-aged) professionals, because who else could afford the ruinous rents and prices?

(Also, the pier kids keep the local economy of the West Village going by buying and consuming heroic quantities of low-quality drugs and pizza-by-the-slice, while the New York University students buy slightly higher-quality dope from the few dealers in Washington Square Park who aren't actually New York City police officers.)

Mother of God, do they have no local editors and fact-checkers reading these things before they ship them to the world?

At least they're not calling the New York City subway the "Métro" this year.

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