Skip to main content

The Worst of Times

There’s the best of times, there’s the worst of times. Mostly, it’s the worst. I’m talking Times Square. The place where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. We all think Times Square is the place to be in NYC. Actually, it’s nothing but a brightly lit tourist trap on steroids. 


Being in the center of Times Square is like being a mouse in the electronics department at Best Buy. You’re surrounded by thousands of beady eyes all fixated on the surrounding LED and Jumbotron screens while fellow rodents step on your tail trying to get a better view. 


They say New York is so nice they “named it twice.” But, you won’t mention Times Square twice, unless you’re making a 911 call. 


“Hello 911, how can I assist you?”

“Help, I’m in Times Square.”

“What’s the problem?”

“I’m in Times Square.”


Around 1892 the area now known as Times Square was the center for the horse carriage industry. It was called Longacre Square. This was way before Elmo and the Naked Cowboy immigrated to Manhattan. 


Evidently fossils of horse droppings linger around Red Lobster and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, because the summer heat stirs aromas that go far beyond “peel and eat.” 


The area grew into a low entertainment district with vaudeville theaters and was nicknamed Thieves Lair. Pickpockets were as plentiful as Trump Bobble Head dolls now adorning the windows in 42nd Street souvenir shops. Today the pickpockets have moved to Wall Street and deal in hedge funds and cryptocurrency. 


In 1904 the New York Times moved operations to a skyscraper on 42nd Street and the area was named Times Square. Theaters, hotels, music halls and Howard Johnson’s brought culture. It was called ‘HoJo’s” because the waitresses were working the counters and the alleys. There weren’t many tips selling fried clams, but bearded clams behind the dumpster was a cash cow. 


The ball drop began on New Year’s Eve in 1907. Mobs of people showed up to watch a ball slide down a pole to let them know the new year had arrived. It really was a feat because in such frigid temperatures it’s hard to get any balls to drop. Today, a crowd of one million celebrates in Times Square— rain or shine. 


Everyone is herded into pens like Conagra cattle. They’re handed party hats and noisemakers and stand there for hours. No public restrooms, no place to sit while drunk strangers from Beaver’s Hole, Wyoming, scream “New York, New York” into their ears. 


So, I say, “Enjoy the dawn of a new year with a pair of cold, soggy Depends™ and swollen ankles. I don’t want to hear about your PTSD– Post Times Square Disease.” Evidently it’s about enduring the pain. A glass of champagne and a clock aren’t Survivor-like enough for you. But let me clue you in, you were voted off the island as soon as your diaper reached maximum capacity. 


Times Square became the gateway to the theater district. Broadway brought in millions of out-of-towners who wanted to see the latest musicals. While bridge and tunnel housewives rushed to Hello Dolly, the husbands were sneaking around to 42nd Street to hear the Sound of Mona. 


Times Square in the 60’s and 70’s became the seediest part of mid-town. Adult theaters, peep shows, sex shops and unscrupulous businesses like Trump Tanning Booths dominated what became known as the “Great Orange Way.” Fantastic Broadway shows continued to be produced. Camelot brought in the tourists whileCamel Toe brought in the cash. 


Petty crooks and rats started avoiding the area between 42nd and 47th Street. You couldn’t cross the street without seeing prostitutes perform the dance of the seven Johns. Even Peter Pan featured Captain Hooker. Tinkerbell was pregnant and Peter Pan’s shadow was a pimp who claimed Peter owed him money for a night spent with Tiger Lily. Times were tough.


Mayor Ed Koch started to redevelop the area by moving the hookers to Hoboken and sticking the rest in the new Marriott Marquis. Theaters were renovated and new construction replaced the union offices of the Manhattan Union of Pimps. The Union President, Huggy Bear, moved to California and became a police informant. 


In the nineties, Rootin’ Tootin’ Rudy Giuliani continued to scrub Times Square clean. It evolved into the Disney Age of the 42nd Street. Mickey and his gang came in and took the old call girl and put her into Cinderella’s gown, and a tiara. She looked great from a billboard but up close you could still see track marks and a hot pink thong. This Cinderella’s looking for her 1999 Prince not the Charming one. 


Rudy helped change the landscape of a New York landmark. Post 9/11, he became known as ‘America’s Mayor’. Since then, he’s become everyone’s crazy drunk uncle. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer has more street cred. The former mayor has become a social media buffoon. With a diagnosis of dyetaxia (dementia from hair dye) his salt and pepper brain stem has left him, at best, incoherent. 


During recent testimony at the Department of Justice, Giuliani claimed he was responsible for the death of Osama Bin Laden. Rudy’s been working covert ops as agent .0007. He said although Obama and Hillary took credit for the mission that took down the 9/11 mastermind, he was the real assassin. In Operation Islamic Drag Race, he infiltrated Bin Laden’s secret compound disguised as one of his five wives— Rudilla Aman Fatima Giuliani Laden. 


“With my professional makeup skills and a fierce head-to-toe barqa, I became part of the family. Osama called me his big desert rose. He was poisoned with a tainted Nathan’s Hot Dog I’d hidden in his Ramadan Baba Ganoush. Using my MAC foundation compact, I was able to tunnel out of the compound undetected.” 


Rudy reported he’d also spied on Hillary Clinton’s Pizza Porn Ring disguised as a pepperoni. “I uncovered they were using pineapple illegally smuggled from Hawaii as a topping.”  FBI Director, Christopher Wray, advised Giuliani pineapple was shipped from Hawaii which is a US state. No smuggling was taking place. 


The former mayor insists the corrupt DOJ and FBI hide all crimes committed by radical liberals. There’s a rumor Rudy plans on exposing Hunter Biden’s crimes by disguising himself as a laptop. 


Giuliani’s successors continued to bring in new retailers, restaurants, media firms and bigger and brighter signs to Times Square. Everything about this area, referred to as “The Crossroads of the World” is over the top. It’s the most visited place globally with 360,000 pedestrians mobbing the area daily. Sponge Bob Square Pants should be handing out Xanax for my York State of panic. 


The Hershey’s and M&M’s stores are selling a sugar rush to the huddled masses. Who doesn’t want to visit the mega M&M’s store and fight a crowd of candy addicted tourists drooling over a wall of M&M’s? Let’s spend $50 dollars for a bag of the exclusive Bloomberg Blueberry flavor. 


The crack dealers might be gone, but the refined sugar withdrawals took their place. Wait until little Tommy from Crow’s Foot, Tennessee is back home pawning his mama’s engagement ring to score a two-pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. From New York City to the Betty Ford Clinic, it’s a natural progression.


It’s a cacophony of noise. An assault to the nostrils. There’s nothing like summer heat to amplify Manhattan’s finest international fragrances. Enjoy the gentle wafts of curry, cilantro, garlic, onion, cumin, ginger, paprika, beer, whiskey and United Nations of body odor. Stop by a food truck and eat a falafel— you’ll feel awful. 


Bring your kids so they can snap a photo with a favorite super hero or cartoon character. There’s anorexic Spiderman whose costume has more sags than a gastric bypass patient. See Optimus Prime transform his Jose Cuervo tequila into an empty bottle. They can converse with Elmo while he’s on a smoke break. Hear how his costume has given him an unidentified rash far below where you’d want to tickle him. 


There are many great places to visit in Manhattan that don’t involve being accosted just for walking. People who live in the city avoid Times Square at all costs. That’s an important fact left out of the brochures.


Instead, stroll 5th Ave. and ogle some Tiffany diamonds, visit galleries in Soho and admire modern art made from recycled breast implants. If you really must sightsee a geometric shape, checkout Columbus Circle. There’s a beautiful city away from ball drop central.


If you really can’t tour the Big Apple without digging into the worm, just be ready for panhandlers, sidewalk merchants selling everything including black market kidney transplants, guides trying to sell you tickets for bus tours, Naked Cowboy wannabes, break dancers, and thousands of selfie takers. The perfect photo op is to pose with the Lady Liberty. She’s there wearing her robe, holding her torch, waiting to greet you. Watch the angle. On the closeups she looks a little manly. Wait! is that Rudy?







Recent Posts

Waking Up in Vegas - Happy 2014!

Neither, Gary or I, are really gamblers, so we try to find other activities to occupy our time when visiting Vegas. We have visited Red Rock, Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire State Park on previous visits. We had even traveled as far as Zion National Park in Utah, during an earlier stay. There are definitely natural beauties to discover while in Nevada, and they have nothing to do with showgirls or stripper poles. This visit was about relaxation and ringing in the New Year, so we didn’t need to stray far from Vegas this time. We bought tickets for a concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth. She is a very talented singer and actress best known from Broadway shows, movies, and multiple guest appearances on GLEE. The concert was on New Year’s Eve at the newly built Smith Center. Although she is about three feet tall, Kristin has a powerhouse voice. She sang songs from her career and, of course, sang one of my favorites “For Good” from WICKED. It was a great way to

Mental Health - Destroy the Stigma

I believe that I am a fearless writer. I share my personal experiences, thoughts and beliefs. I’ve not been afraid to express my emotions. Self-expression is fundamental to writing. I am a man of my words Recently, I became concerned that my blogs about depression and mental health might shape my reader’s opinions of me in a negative way.   The more I thought about it, I realized that I had internalized the stigma that surrounds mental health. Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace or infamy.” The word bears a negative connotation and it devalues the person to whom the stigma is applied. While the conversation about mental health is receiving a larger forum, damaging misconceptions are widespread. According to surveys, there are between 42.5-46 million adults in the US that have some type of mental illness.   Statistics show that one in four adults experience mental illness in a given year. These numbers of individuals are all impacted in some manner by the sti

Summer Adventures Part 2 – The Backyard Backlot to Broadway

  My childhood summers weren’t all the glitz and glamor of vacationing with cousins, wobbly shopping carts and bloody feet. Actually, most of my summer days were spent right at home in my yard. My parents never took a vacation. Our family never packed its bags and took off for other ports of call.   I never boarded a plane, a boat, or a train for a family adventure. My adventures were self-created. They were products of an imaginative mind that could travel to the moon, ride the rapids in the Amazon Jungle and lead a battle for the Knights of the Round Table, all before a lunch of Spaghettios with a side of Hawaiian Punch . I have always loved going to the movies. This helped provide the inspiration to my over active mind. The Saturday afternoon matinee was a childhood staple for me. The smell of fresh popcorn as you entered the lobby and the crisp cold air of the air-conditioned theater helped set the atmosphere on those hot, summer afternoons. I would get lost in the dark with

Depression, Drugs & DNA

When diagnosed with Clinical Depression, my doctor recommended medication to help the illness. The art of medication management can challenge professionals who need to find the right drug and dosage that will be effective for treatment. It’s frustrating for patients combating the effects of depression when their medication doesn’t quite alleviate the symptoms. Part of this cocktail of drugs can also cause intolerable side effects ·       Sleepiness ·       Insomnia ·       Dizziness ·       Weight Gain ·       Headaches ·       Increased Anxiety ·       Sexual Problems ·       Nausea The feeling of hopelessness and frustration is just compounded when you’re waiting for relief that never really arrives. There are so many drugs available for the treatment of depression. It can be daunting to find the right one for you. I feel that I have taken the PDR of depression medications. There’s always been the chase for the one that would tu

Communication - The Art of Words

I read a posting, a few weeks ago, that the song “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode was celebrating its 25 th anniversary. The song, released in 1990, speaks of how you can be beyond words. It relays the message that there are times when words can’t describe feelings or emotions and seem inconsequential. I do understand when people say that something is “indescribable.” We all have moments when we just want silence and time to appreciate the world beyond words.   A feeling or an emotion can be hard to verbalize at times, but are we ever beyond words? We have to realize that if we want a space of non-communication we have to communicate that. We can’t “Enjoy the Silence” unless we can tell everyone we want silence.   For people to know we are at a loss for words, we have to tell them that. Everything we say and do lies in communication. We could not function as a community or a society without it. We don’t stop to contemplate that our whole world is created fro