I never forget the first time when I visited Times Square. The excitement I felt just as a small child may feel at an amusement park: excited, curious, and anxious to do and see absolutely everything. The first thing that impressed me was the smell of Times Square. The ever-changing smells of Times Square amaze me. I take a few short strides along the sidewalk, and the smells of freshly cooked shishkabobs being sold by a street vendor fill the air with a sweet fragrance of barbeque chicken. Suddenly, after a few more strides along the same wide stretch of sidewalk packed full of tourists, vendors and street performers, the air is now full of the smell of roasted peanuts, almonds, and cashews. However, not all of the smells are mouth-watering. Most of the street corners have either huge round sewage drains or rectangular ones with bars. Through the gaps and holes of these sewage drains, seep such a foul-smelling odour that you soon forget any of the pleasant ones surrounding it. As I walked over one of the old odorous drains, hot steam flew up and out of it, right up my nostrils and triggered my gag reflexes.
As we walk along, I stop to admire one of the many street performers along Times Square. His skin is covered from head to toe in metallic silver paint. He is wearing a tight suit, also the same colour as his skin, and he is standing completely still. His eyes are closed, but his mouth opens slightly in an awkward smile. Both feet were firmly planted on the ground but with his left leg slightly bending. His right arm is also bent, with his hand resting on his right cheek and his left hand held out; in it is an upside-down top hat that was identical in colour to the rest of him. Others are now also gathering around the futuristic silver man with the same curiosity and amusement. As we drop some money into his hat then step back and wait, he starts to move a little; he robotic moves his hat with short, abrupt yet controlled movements up to his metallic ear and gives it a shake, causing the coins within to jingle as it clashes against one another.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $14
Prices start at $12
His smile fades into a frown as his hat drops back down; clearly, it wasn’t enough. As he resumes in his previous lifeless state, a few others drop in more coins. This time, the jingling hat pleases the coin loving performer, and so he burst into dance. Another street performer catches my eye not too far from the last. This time, he isn’t covered in silver nor paint. Instead, completely black, form-fitting clothing topped with a cape. He’s wearing a white pointy mask with little black slits for the eyes with a wide red painted smile. His head is tilted down, causing a shadow from his silk hat low on his head. Just as the one before, he stands completely still but more in a dance pose. I put my contribution into the hole of a box next to him and wait.
An ordinary man behind the almost black silhouette of the performer in old worn-out jeans and a beard, a bird could build a nest in pushes play on a stereo sitting on an old wooden stool. He begins to dance whimsically, prancing around his small audience, including myself. Finally, getting bored and feeling a little letdown, I move on. Wanting to see Times Square at night, when all of its glorious lights are bright, and the billboards come to life, we decide to check out other places then return when the sun is down, and the lights of New York take over to light the streets This is my first impression of Times Square in New York City, it reminds me of a saying about New York City from writer Theodore Dreiser: ” The thing that impressed me then as now about New York… was sharp, and at the same time immense, contrast it showed between the dull and the shrewd, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant… the strong, or those who ultimately dominated, were so very strong, and the weak so very, very weak – and so very, very many.”