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Now, I’m not one of those people who claims to miss the old Times Square, with the sorry hookers and scary pimps and drug addicts loitering in every doorway. The closest I ever came to getting mugged (I’ve never been, in 41 years in NYC) was there in the ’80s, as I bought a ticket at Port Authority to get the Peter Pan up to Middletown, CT, where I went to college.
It’s just that the relatively new Times Square is no better, differently bad, as it were. I worked there for years and it takes 20 minutes to cross a street. Tourists who have apparently never seen a musclebound cowboy in tightie-whities playing guitar in all weather or a gigantic TV featuring a dancing potato stare upward instead of watching their wallets, like they still should be doing in NYC.
I was trapped behind such a cluster of visitors (thanks for supporting the local economy) and had to get back to my office to pee so badly that I grabbed one by her shoulders and bodily moved her aside. She looked a little freaked but I think she wrote me off as one of those rude NYers and was glad to have a story to tell when she got back to Canton.
I have no idea if she was from Canton. Here’s what I loved seeing in Times Square: A group of big-boned, exceedinly pale women with TV-anchor haircuts wearing matching T-shirts that read, “What happens inÃ‚Â Canton stays in Canton.” That made me laugh all day. Never underestimate the Cantonease.
Anyway, Times Square, formerly seedy, currently grotesque.