New York – Been There
Naked, on Times Square – just another night in New York
Native New Yorkers may turn up their noses at Times Square but, secretly, they love it. It was once a sweaty, seedy, Red Light district but now it’s a hellish funhouse of corporate logos, neon lights, and madcap characters who make a living posing for the tourists who swarm the place.
During the day Times Square feels like a subway car at rush hour. But at night, after Broadway theaters have let out their audiences, and the neon signs gleam like LED towers against the night sky, there is something grittily moving about the place.
One of the more memorable residents of Times Square is the guitar-playing Naked Cowboy (who doubled as a Tea Party candidate for President in 2012). But the warring Naked Cowgirls (one, the cowboy’s wife) also vie for my attention – and potential tip. Spiderman (fully clothed) jumps from around 43rd Street and tries to ensnare me in a yarn web. Sorry, won't happen. Local rappers hawk self-produced CDs, extemporizing in rhyme. The marquee bulbs glint like so many stars.
Families are looking up, taking photographs, pointing, grinning, overwhelmed by the things I’ve gotten so used to in my decades here. But sometimes it’s nice to feel like a proper New York tourist, after all.