By e. kirshe
A disclaimer: Before you read the title and offer genuine advice about avoiding such an infuriating place I will tell you that, sadly, I work there and must navigate those putrid streets daily.
It has been slowly eating my soul.
To some Times Square is the beating heart of the city. It is alive with light and energy and conveniently towards the middle (like a heart!). The people who think this are tourists and they make me furious.
To tourists: I understand, I really do, that you’ve traveled, sometimes far, to be here and it’s all very new and exciting. What I don’t understand is why that makes you so damn rude.
That’s right, it’s not us, it’s you.
Every day when I walk to work I am forced to shove my way through crowds of tourists who yell at me for disrupting their right to stand dead in the middle of a very crowded street to take photos.
What is it with you people? You’ve heard the stereotype of rude New Yorkers and this is a preemptive strike? Or do you not notice that we’re all trying to get someplace and not just native window dressing to your perfect selfie in front of a Coca-Cola ad?
Have you not learned how to walk properly? I’ll admit this one has troubled me for some time. But after days of in and out weaving and shoving to get around people who just will not listen to a strained “excuse me” I’ve been developing theories. I’ve heard tell that in a lot of places around the globe and even the tri-state area most people drive to places even in their own neighborhood. So if your meandering slow stride is truly from a lack of practice then… that’s sad. I apologize.
If it seems like my hyped up rage at normal, everyday, people is fume-fueled that’s because it is. But not the fumes you’re thinking of- I’ve been drinking in this air since birth. The fumes I’m referring to are the ones of the tightly packed spray paint artists who make designs for tourists.
On a summer’s day inhaling paint actually makes the 100+ degree weather worse. Also, the artists are usually pretty talented. This makes the aforementioned tourists swarm around them and form a pretty solid blockade that will likely force me into oncoming traffic.
And then there are the Creep Street Cartoon Characters. If you’re unfamiliar, they haunt the streets closest to Toys R’US and radiate out in smaller clumps from there. They wear full body costumes of beloved children’s characters and if you are with a child, or appear to be looking at them, they will come after you. They will pose with you and your children for tips and generally speaking are terrifying. I could write a whole article devoted to their antics. To their plastic, off-kilter, dead staring eyes and their matted fur….they haunt my dreams.
Like moths to brightly lit advertisements people can’t get enough of this place. People shopping at chain stores that they almost definitely have at home (why did you come here?). Sad, lost souls, waiting on line like it’s Disneyland- except there’s another H&M one avenue over. Chain restaurants that already suck but also cost more here than anywhere else. The Nederlander theater currently housing Newsies instead of RENT. And all of this seen in slow motion as I cannot make my way down the street at a normal pace.
Times Sq. is itself a thing that creates chaos and monotony. Its famous visage draws the tourists who attract the artists, performers, and the Creep Street Cartoon Characters all of which stop up more foot traffic as they generate more picture taking. This combines to boil the blood and clog the senses. I move through here and I am not myself. I am a thing of fury, loathing all, and there is no escape.
So mostly, it’s the tourists. Sorry tourists.