Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Takes a Lot to Get Me to Times Square

Times Square is a tourist trap, filled with chain restaurants uncommon in the rest of NYC and slowpoke tourists so I usually avoid being in the vicinity at all costs. It's a tribute to the awesomeness of Secret Science Club goddess Dorian Devins (one of a pantheon of two) that I schlepped down to Times Square last night for her open mic night at Tagine Dining Gallery. Tagine is behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, in a somewhat grungy area behind the touristy section (there are even a few holdout porn shops in the area, which gives it a nostalgic vibe for longtime New Yorkers). As usual, Dorian was holding court, and playing M.C., lining up the night's singers. House band Lou Rainone, Alex Gressel, and Kevin Leon kept the beat and kept it strong. I took my place on stage, and did my schtick (future blog post), then had a pot of strong coffee and some baklava. Fortified, I went back to brave Times Square.

Times Square is kinda weird... it's a glitzy neon candyland with a lot of generic entertainment options that I find singularly unappealing. Because it's a magnet for tourists, there is a heavy security presence. In front of the theater hosting the Mary Poppins revival, there was a police officer in body armor, toting an automatic rifle. Even though I know the guy's just an ordinary working Joe who probably has a modest house in Rockland County, and would be a good guy to have a beer with, the automatic rifle gives off a pretty aggressive vibe. All the while, a sound system is playing music from Mary Poppins... I found the phrase, "A spoon full of sugar makes the fascism go down" running in my head. I've got nothing against cops, but I sussed out that "security kabuki" was a sham soon after 9/11- back in October of 2001, I got on the train at the security-free station at 238th St in the Bronx, and got off at 42nd St, where I found that the majority of the subway entrances (and, this is key, exits) were blocked by steel gates. Way to go about not preventing anyone from carrying anything into the station, while preventing an evacuation if the shit hit the fan.

Returning to the Times Square subway station, I saw a crowd exiting the theater that will show the accident prone, critically lambasted Spiderman: Take Back the Dark musical (a preview? couldn't be arsed inquiring). I'd be more interested in seeing the musical Spaderman: Bring out the Dork, a musical based on my favorite bootleg toy... if such a musical existed. Hmmm... gotta get Saasha Foo on the horn, and make it happen.

Just outside the subway entrance, a young lady was asking passersby, "Are you American?" She didn't seem to be xenophobic, but I had a train to the Bronx to catch and didn't have time to find out what her deal was.

"Are you American?"
"No, baby, I'm a New Yorker."

As a New Yorker, nothing short of a show of support for a good Friend of the Bastard can get me into Times Square.*

*Checking upcoming calendar of events at Nokia Theater for bullshit detection

7 comments:

Brando said...

the automatic rifle gives off a pretty aggressive vibe

That's why my Ak-47 is bedazzled.

LOL at the "I'm a New Yorker" exchange. That is NYC to a T.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I think a Hello Kitty AK would do much to soften things, as well.

LOL at the "I'm a New Yorker" exchange. That is NYC to a T.

This is why I always get a kick out of "OMG, THE US WILL SPLIT" hype. I know my allegiances, and I don't even live in the city (Yonkers, though, is a good contender for "sixth borough" status).

TruculentandUnreliable said...

You're liable to get your ass kicked around these parts if you ask random strangers on the street if they're American.

I do not understand people who come to New York and stay in one part of the city and eat at shitty chain restaurants.

Actually, I don't understand people who go *anywhere* and eat at shitty chain restaurants. I mean, is the thought of not eating something familiar really that terrifying? It's fucking bizarre. You might as well just stay home if you're going to be that insulated and narrow-minded.

Sometimes I think people just go places to say they've been there.

You're a good friend, BTW. Times Square looks like hell on earth to me, and I'm a slobby, pale Midwesterner.

nedbeaumontjr said...

Times Square looks like hell on earth to me

The grungy part that B^4 alluded to is "Clinton," nee Hell's Kitchen. Thanks to gentrification, it's more like Hell's Cafe these days, but heading west from XSQ is a good way to lose the tourists.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I used to take Port Authority buses to Atlantic City. After they discontinued the train, that was the way to ride in style.

Was it teh prudes/Disney that put Times Square porno outta bizness? Or the internet.

Where's Columbo when you need 'em?
~

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Actually, I don't understand people who go *anywhere* and eat at shitty chain restaurants. I mean, is the thought of not eating something familiar really that terrifying? It's fucking bizarre. You might as well just stay home if you're going to be that insulated and narrow-minded.

Yeah, never got the neophobe thing.

You're a good friend, BTW. Times Square looks like hell on earth to me, and I'm a slobby, pale Midwesterner.

Like I said, I know my allegiances.

The grungy part that B^4 alluded to is "Clinton," nee Hell's Kitchen.

North of Times Square on Ninth Avenue, one can find a plethora of interesting restaurants. After beating the hell out of each other on Saturday mornings, Frenchy, the Moroccan George Clooney, and I often used to hit Ariana Afghan for lunch. Then I started working Saturday afternoons...

Was it teh prudes/Disney that put Times Square porno outta bizness? Or the internet.

It was the gentrification/Disneyfication combo that put the venerable Peep World out of business.

nedbeaumontjr said...

The NYC - AC train has been resurrected.