I worked in Times Square for half a year before moving to Philadelphia in 2005. It was terrible.
The experience that I enjoyed the most was grabbing a muffin from the cart on 43rd. The man who ran the cart was a graceful balance to my otherwise stressful and depressing corporate grind. Want to know how the business world is doing, what stocks to invest in? Talk to someone who runs a breakfast cart in a commercial district — they hear it all. My morning carb-run was a cheap form of therapy.
I remember almost getting arrested because I walked through a taping for some bullshit Donald Trump show, on a public sidewalk. Nothing will get you excited to work in Times Square like a brush-in with one of New York’s standing military.
The ratio of sidewalk to people in Times Square is best explained to Philadelphians as like walking down South Street on a Friday night. It’s not the spot for a brisk walk. You avoid it. New Yorkers generally stay out of Times Square, although I definitely appreciated it when I was 14 and hitting up all ages shows at Coney Island High.
It was exciting to work in the din of one of the most hectic few blocks in the busiest city in the United States. The excitement dips down when you realize the only place nearby to grab a bite that’s reasonably priced is the corporate cafeteria, or when you get rammed with umbrella after umbrella on a rainy day. Nothing beats sharing the busy streets with gobs of tourists who are all looking up at the bright shiny advertisements!
It was a bit sobering watching the NYPD grow into a military-tactical force that would arrest homeless by the hundreds and protesters by the thousands. Arrest and harass first, ask questions later. They would run counter-terrorism drills on 7th avenue, but all I could tell they did was figure out how to park diagonally and make people feel safe and happy about their tax investment.