7 Reasons Why Times Square Sucks

Taken during a rare moment of bliss

At the heart of Manhattan Island lies Times Square; colloquially named the Crossroads of the World. Having its name changed from Longacre Square when the New York Times newspaper moved its headquarters to this location in 1904, Times Square acts as the hub of the Broadway theatre district; is the location for the country’s iconic New Year’s Eve countdown; and is one of the busiest pedestrian thoroughfares in the world.

For these reasons, and more, it was therefore highlighted as one of my ‘must-do’ things during a recent trip to New York. I’d had reservations as to whether it would actually be as mesmerising as I’d been told (I mean, it’s just a square right?), however I never quite imagined how much of a let-down the entire area would be. Here are my 7 reasons as to why I think Times Square is a little bit shit:

1) It’s Not Even a Square

If you’re going to name something, then at least have it make sense. Not only is Times Square not even a square, it doesn’t really resemble any geometric shape at all. Among other absurd suggestions, its general area has been described as a rough-polygon; two inverted triangles; a sand-timer; and, a bow-tie shape. Ok, perhaps I should have done a little more research prior to my visit, but I was busy. This leads nicely on to my second reason…

2) The Selfie-Stick Wielding Tourists

Ever wondered what it’s like to be crushed in a mosh pit at a death metal concert but don’t like the music enough to buy a ticket? You’re in luck. Times Polygon is the perfect place to experience the displeasure of strangers’ sweaty bodies rubbing aggressively against you without the accompanying screaming angst. It being pointless to try and swerve around the stereotype, Chinese tourists, with their 6ft long selfie sticks and 15-person group photos, were largely to blame for the congestion during my unfortunate visit. Dark lyrics aside however, noise pollution is still prevalent, and that’s primarily due to…

3) The Construction

Never have I set foot on an island with as much construction taking place as Manhattan. There are more than 100,000 people employed as labourers in NYC, and I don’t think a single one of them had called in sick or taken a holiday during the week of my visit. The pneumatic drill seemed to be the weapon of choice for these hard-hat wearing, slang talking, workers; closely followed by the wonky-wheelbarrow. Nobody could debate their hard work, but with Times Polygon seemingly going through more repairs that a recently bombed middle-Eastern state, they didn’t exactly have time to dilly-dally; Na’ mean? At least most of this construction could just be covered up by all of…

4) The Billboards

This is a health warning: If you suffer from latent epilepsy then please keep your distance from Times Polygon. The annual electricity bill for this small block of streets must be higher than that of Belgium. Hundreds of electronic billboards cover every square inch of the leering skyscrapers that border it, advertising the latest movies; beauty products; fashion trends; [insert consumer product here]. I’d imagine you’d be hard pressed to find a room overlooking Times Polygon that actually has a functioning window. If you are a cautious driver then I’d also heed maximum caution when navigating around these streets. As well as the large number of roadworks; blacked-out Chevrolet Escalades; and suicidal businessmen, there are also a large number of…

5) Street Performers

Ok, I’ll admit that the Naked Cowboy is pretty cool. Almost all of the other street performers who brace Times Polygon however are, at best, mildly irritating. Take the fat man dressed as a giant baby who does nothing but wail for hours on end, for example. Or, how about the entire cast of frozen who, because they are wearing the costumes of loved Disney characters, feel that this gives them the right to be your best friend. At least they don’t invade your personal space as much as…

6) The Leafleting and Flyering

If I’d collected and bound every single leaflet and flyer that was shoved in my face, I swear the resulting book would have been thicker than Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix. Hello? I’m in New-fucking-York, there’s already quite a few things going on. Even if I’d been visiting York, United Kingdom, however, I doubt I’d ever get to such a loose end that a three hour one-man re-enactment of the ‘life and times of so-and-so’ would sound like a good way to pass the evening. If you did find yourself being involuntarily dragged to such a performance however, one way of getting out of it would to eat some of…

 7) The Food

I’m now going to address a second cultural stereotype in this short post; that being the one about Americans having shit diets and eating too much. The food choice available in-and-around Times Polygon is comparable to that of a state penitentiary, with the hygiene standards being on a par with those found a zoo. There is also an obsession with rushing diners through their three courses as quickly as possible. One evening I ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and before my brother had even finished his starter they threw his main course on our table like it were a smelly turd. It also tasted a bit like a smelly turd. Not that I’d know what a smelly turd tastes like…

This goes to show that not all things on my Bucket List will turn out to be  ‘call home and ring your friends to tell them how good of an experience you had’ awesome. And I never expected it to be. The bucket list is more an expression of: ‘Hey, these are the really cool things that I’d like to experience and undertake at some point in my life, and regardless of whether they turn out to be enjoyable or not I’ll still be happy to have done them’.

Thankfully the rest of my visit to New York turned out to be a roaring success. Click here to read about my trip up to the top of the Rockefeller Center and the ensuing rap battle I witnessed.


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