Times Square Sucks

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.

A tour of Times Square

4 thoughts on “Times Square Sucks

  1. yeah, i recently fell out of love with New York…just too much crap. my sister lives 7 blocks away from Times Square. the only time i really like being there is really, really late at night. it’s lovely then.

  2. Shut up hippie.

    Giuliani’s changes made it safe to BE in Times Square, spawning an entire new economy and thousands of jobs in Times Square.

    Do you want to go back to the 80’s with the muggings? People from Iowa come here now because they can feel safe. Of course New Yorkers don’t go there, they also don’t go to the statue of liberty and empire state building.

    Do you think people in Rome tour the colliseum every week?

  3. Actually, a large part of the ‘Disneyification’ of Times Square and Manhattan in general is due to Dinkins. Giuliani rolled into office with a much large police force and a renewed energy for an urban takeover of Times Square, as well as most city parks and public spaces.

    I love the nostalgia for old-NYC — indeed New York City was a much cooler place 10 years ago. When I visit New York, all I see are chain restaurants and shopping destinations. It took moving to Philadelphia for me to understand the real treasure and opportunity local, independent businesses provide to a city. The fabric of New York is now a Ron English painting.. KMART, GAP, McDonalds, Applebees, Starbucks.

    When Grubstake recently played in Manhattan, I remarked to Pat how ironic it was that folks were living in Brooklyn and Queens and not coming into Manhattan, which I presumed is one of the reasons why one would live in an outer-borrough. Turns out, that’s where all the culture and fun is now a days. The last major rock venue in Manhattan, Knitting Factory, is also moving to BK.

    And I’m not sure you got the point of the post, it was to represent the corporate pornfest times square embodies, and it’s representative of the marketing-saturated world we live in. I find it interesting that it remains such a cultural mecca. But I guess that’s why folks like infomercials so much.

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