In Defense Of Times Square
Politics and Activism

In Defense Of Times Square

There's more to love about this crazy part of town than meets the eye.


As I adjust to life as a recently-declared New Yorker, it's been my experience that one of the main requirements is a deeply-rooted hatred of Times Square (this, along with an aversion to slow walking, a working knowledge of the laughable subway system, and the assumption that you will be ripped off every time you open your wallet). Whether you have lived here your entire life or just a few years, you avoid that five-block stretch of Broadway and 7th avenue like the plague. You don't take your friends there, eat there, or shop there. It's a dead zone on the Manhattan map.

Unfortunately, it will be, without fail, the first place visiting friends and family will want to see. According to the Times Square Alliance, the official representative of Times Square, over 300,000 pedestrians pass through this tiny part of the city every day, and closer to 500,000 on busy days. So when my family decided to stroll (I cringe just using the word) through the Great White Way after seeing a production of Jersey Boys, on a Saturday night during Thanksgiving weekend, my opposition to the idea was not subtle. I believe my reasoning was that there would be too many people. My parents argued that firstly, we had nowhere to be, and secondly, I chose to live in the country's most populous city. Large crowds of people are something I should get used to. Defeated, I followed them into the fray.

The atmosphere, at first glance, was just as I had expected; hoards of slow-moving tourists crowding the sidewalks, giant video screens destroying the darkness, and competing with them, the flash of thousands of cameras (less expected was a man dressed in only a diaper and cheap rubber angry baby mask making crying noises at passersby, but it's all part of the "charm," right?). When my dad and younger brother paused to take a few selfies, I stopped and looked around, which I usually never do. If I ever had the misfortune of getting caught in this corner of the city, it was head down and earbuds in until I made it to the other side.

I'm not going to claim that time slowed down, a romantic jazz track started playing in the background, and I had some sort of epiphany. However, I will say, that like any New Yorker, I may have been too quick to judge.

What else is Times Square than a concentrated version of New York itself? It's all there; the blindly broadcasted capitalism, a swirling sea of humanity speaking a tangle of languages, the grit and the grime, the weird and the wonderful. Where else can you buy a five-pound bag of M&Ms, see an 11,000 pound crystal ball drop from the top of a building, and watch the morbid curiosity of children as beloved TV and movie characters lift off their heads to assure a tip after a photo. "Only in New York" is simply the expansion of "only in Times Square."

Yet, what I saw the most of was the people around me looking up. Up towards the blinding lights, the tops of the buildings, and the starless sky. Most of them were smiling.

I think it would be fair to assume that a significant proportion of New Yorkers would complain that those people weren't experiencing the real New York; that the absurdity of that little slice of Midtown isn't worth anyone's time to see.

Times Square has been called the "Center of the Universe." I don't know about that, but the center, or perhaps better put, the "Heart" of New York? Absolutely.

If you can't find some love for the heart of this city, as congested and riddled with absurdity as it may be, then why love it at all?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Those Hormones Aren't Gonna Balance Themselves

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

It's common knowledge that your hormones impact practically every aspect of your body. Weight gain, acne, mental health... it's all related to your hormonal health. If your life is treating your body like the superstar it is, your endocrine glands should produce the perfect amount of each hormone to keep you running like a well-oiled machine. This is a nice thought, sure. In our current society, even the most balanced person you know may be missing an important aspect of respecting their body. Things like sleep, stress, diet, exercise, and a busy pace of life can throw hormones off balance and negatively impact your general wellbeing. Sometimes these imbalances are noticed right away, while other times they can be smaller — annoying, but not as obvious.

Keep Reading... Show less

One of the biggest discomforts I initially had with the stay-at-home order was feeling trapped and isolated from what was going on outside the walls of my house. Add that to living in a massive city, where social distancing is nearly impossible when doing something as simple as walking down the street.

Keep Reading... Show less

There is no such thing as a defined beauty industry. For those who believe so, it's time to open your eyes and look around you. Chilling in LA, Beauty Beez has been marketing the beauty industry towards people of color. Not to mention, Beauty Beez is a Black-owned beauty store. They have their own beauty bar that provides threading, waxing, facials, and braiding!

With the client at the center of the experience, our diverse group of professional and knowledgeable beauty experts are able to effectively educate and assist, while you explore. - Beauty Beez

You bet their fabulous mission statement was created by a female entrepreneur. Her name is Brittney Ogike and she is a mompreneur with a career in sports management. Beauty Beez came to life through mere observation or the lack of.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been a picture hoarder. No matter what happens with someone or how many pictures I have of the same thing, I hate deleting pictures. They all serve as memories to me, which is something I think is super important.

Keep Reading... Show less

These Phoebe Buffay Outfits Prove She's A '90s Fashion Icon — We're Replicating EVERY Single One

In case you needed another reason to love our favorite coffee shop singer.


I've always been described as the Phoebe of my friend group — not just for being a vegan, animal-loving people pleaser, but also for the false sense of confidence in my singing and athleticism.

I consider it a compliment to be labeled a Phoebe. Besides her general warmth, I was always drawn to her hippy-chic vibes and passion for environmentalism before it was even cool to be vegan or to care about the planet. The way she carelessly ran through parks flailing her limbs without a care mimicked her effortlessly eccentric style.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Tis the season for wedding fun and if you're hosting or helping plan a bachelorette party for the bride-to-be, you're going to want it to be a blast. Whether it's a social distance soiree or a virtual party, games will always spice up the time with the gals, so if you're looking for a fun and easy one to get the party started (and everyone drunk), this game is for you.

What's the name of the game? "Drink If: Bachelorette Party Edition." Here's how it works.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Talked To My Friend About Her Cystic Fibrosis And Wow, CF Patients Are WARRIORS

Not many people can say they've had a double lung transplant.

Alissa Katz

Forty percent of the United States lives with a chronic disease. These diseases are unique in their own way, but one thing is the same — every individual who lives with a chronic condition faces obstacles because of their disease.

Not only do these illnesses require a lot of education for the individuals who have them, but for the community as a whole. The more we as a society know about these diseases, the more well-rounded (and ideally, helpful) we'll be. If anything, we'll have a greater appreciation for the strength individuals with chronic conditions show on a daily basis.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments