Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Times Square Visit

We rarely venture into Times Square . . . too many tourists and too much noise. We only go if we must! It's sad that so many tourists see little more than the few blocks between 34th Street and the entrance to Central Park at 59th Street. It's hardly a representative sample of Manhattan. Moreover, it doesn't ease them out of their suburban comfort zone because they're surrounded by Applebees, Red Lobster, Chilis, McDonalds and the other major fast food franchises. They could experience the diversity of New York - and the endless food choices - if they'd just wander into Greenwich Village, Soho, or the Lower East Side. Yet in the end they see a "sanitized for your protection" New York City. They might as well go to Branson or Orlando, two of the most horrid locales in the United States.

However, yesterday was my older son's 9th birthday, so we took a trip up to the ESPN Zone on 42nd at Broadway. The place is cavernous, with the walls covered in screens broadcasting dozens of sporting events. (There's even a screen in each bathroom stall and the urinals have little screens at eye level! Because one wouldn't want to miss a pitch of the Mets game while peeing.) Yesterday the attraction was major league baseball's opening day, so the place was mobbed. And while nearly every screen was showing a different ballgame, they still had room to broadcast a soccer game and some collegiate lacrosse. Needless to say, the boys were thrilled, and it was fun to watch the Mets win their season opener amidst a largely pro-Mets crowd. As you can see in the first picture, Ben is in his element, eyes glued to the game. (By the way, that last photo shows the Roy Liechtenstein work in the Times Sq.-42nd St. subway station.

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Kitty said...

aw, happy birthday to him!
that's nice you made an event of his birthday. It's sad when the whole birthday feeling starts to go away as people get older.
he's still young so he can enjoy it!

jblack designs said...

I know what you mean, Brian. When I travel I try to do both--the tourist, iconic stuff is legend, and one should never ignore a legend, of course, but the off-the-beaten path stuff is glorious. I like to walk and walk and walk, ride the bus, see everything there is. Getting lost is nice, too.

In NYC, I like to tide the bus instead of take the subway when possible to see what's out there. But I've also walked 80 blocks and seen even more.

Don't you wish you'd lived there in the 40's? I've worked with people who lived there in their 20's then and, oh, the stories they tell.