June 29, 2012
About two years ago now, Cece and I were preparing to move out of a small apartment in Hell’s Kitchen whose relative proximity to Times Square was something we refused to acknowledge in any way, except in gluttonous 3 a.m. trips to Carnegie Deli.
We resolved, however, to visit the island’s neon navel in earnest before we left—in order to observe the infinite variety of tourist, yes, but also to let the place dominate our minds, as one never does when simply trying to get west and out of the meaty crush.
We walked over around midnight, when no office drones are swarming about and only true visitors fill the sidewalks. Letting it be the destination rather than a traffic jam en route to cooler things was a revelation: the motion and light are too much. People sit on those raised stairs in the center of it all, not only to rest their feet but to watch the signs play. Many couples weren’t even speaking to each other, fixed by the show.
Clearly, we had to go inside a store. The multilevel M&M’s complex seemed the most appalling beacon, and we shuffled inside with the herd, past suited security guards. Inside were some Navy boys on shore leave, in full uniform, who gazed uncertainly around the loud rainbowed hive. They did not seem to understand how this fabled metropolitan nexus could amount to no more than a giant open-air mall.
Upstairs we discovered a photo booth. A photo booth on the second floor of the M&M’s Store in Times Square. We took a photo. It cost $5. When we pulled back the curtain and emerged, there was a line forming.
We bought nothing else and walked north to Carnegie Deli.  

About two years ago now, Cece and I were preparing to move out of a small apartment in Hell’s Kitchen whose relative proximity to Times Square was something we refused to acknowledge in any way, except in gluttonous 3 a.m. trips to Carnegie Deli.

We resolved, however, to visit the island’s neon navel in earnest before we left—in order to observe the infinite variety of tourist, yes, but also to let the place dominate our minds, as one never does when simply trying to get west and out of the meaty crush.

We walked over around midnight, when no office drones are swarming about and only true visitors fill the sidewalks. Letting it be the destination rather than a traffic jam en route to cooler things was a revelation: the motion and light are too much. People sit on those raised stairs in the center of it all, not only to rest their feet but to watch the signs play. Many couples weren’t even speaking to each other, fixed by the show.

Clearly, we had to go inside a store. The multilevel M&M’s complex seemed the most appalling beacon, and we shuffled inside with the herd, past suited security guards. Inside were some Navy boys on shore leave, in full uniform, who gazed uncertainly around the loud rainbowed hive. They did not seem to understand how this fabled metropolitan nexus could amount to no more than a giant open-air mall.

Upstairs we discovered a photo booth. A photo booth on the second floor of the M&M’s Store in Times Square. We took a photo. It cost $5. When we pulled back the curtain and emerged, there was a line forming.

We bought nothing else and walked north to Carnegie Deli.  

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