Talk to any pre-Giuliani New Yorker in this city about Times Square and nine times out of ten you’ll hear a bitter rant damning Corporate America for swooping in a decade ago and completely sanitizing the former seediest of seedy NYC areas. Heck, I remember taking a field trip into the city when I was but a lad and being totally awestruck by a billboard near 42nd & Broadway of some buck naked porn star (drenched in sweat and pure unadulterated lust) that had to be at least four stories tall. These days, the raciest thing in that whole area is the giant cartoon M&Ms that have no clothes on. The charm, as seemingly inappropriate as it was, is definitely gone.
Yes, my friends, the sleaze washed out of Times Square a long time ago, but you’re still liable to see something totally insane on any given day you go down there. Take yesterday, for example. I met up with my pal Ken Chino for lunch. We were just kind of killing time in front of his place of employment after we ate, which is near the corner of 40th & Broadway. An elderly Asian man was seated across the street playing one of those traditional Oriental instruments. A sea of tourists and normal business types surrounded us. For New York City, the scene was practically a bore.
Then Superman showed up. Not the real Superman, mind you, but Long-Haired Teenage Superman In Basketball Sneakers. He looked pretty scrawny, but the costume had those built-in muscles that always give the illusion of strength. In his left hand, a giant flagpole with a proud American Flag billowing from its top. In his right hand…was that a boom box? A purse? We couldn’t quite see. Long-Haired Teenage Superman was walking down the other side of the street with his head held high until he saw the Asian guy playing the thing (man, I wish I had paid more attention in Humanities class in college). Supes put all his junk down next to this musical gent and stood there for a second.
“Oh fuck,” I exclaimed. “I think we’re about to see a showdown. Superman is clearly issuing a challenge to that guy.”
“Maybe,” Ken replied cautiously. We didn’t know how far our voices carried.
Thankfully, there was no blood shed. Turns out Superman had stopped to merely reach in his pocket and fish out a coin for the elderly musician. Having supported the local scene, Superman gathered up all his shit and walked approximately four feet to a hot dog cart. There, he dropped all his belongings again and searched the Super Undies for more ducats.
There was a comic book shop a couple of blocks from where Ken and I were standing, so we just figured this Super Fool was out shaking hands and kissing babies for them. Still, I thought there was something very odd about this Last Son of Krypton. He definitely seemed like he was on something. I had bigger fish to fry yesterday, though, so Teenage Super Dork quickly washed to the back of my mind. I had completely forgotten about this cartoon encounter by the time I made it back to my apartment half an hour later.
This morning, I dialed up the Gothamist and was quickly reminded of Mr. Truth, Justice, & Performing In Public Without A License via this story. Turns out Supes was arrested sometime after I left Times Square yesterday following a scuffle with seven cops, during which he punched one in the face. That’s not the American way, you Krypton-loving bitch! Apparently this amateur hero had nothing to do with the comic shop Ken and I saw. Neither did the guy in the Batman costume who was also involved; that dude managed to avoid custody by using crafty tools like his Batarang (also, he didn’t punch any cops in the face).
According to a commenter in the above linked article, this isn’t the first time this Super Dweeb and Bat Weirdo have been spotted in the city. The two were seen “play fighting” in Bryant Park a couple of weeks ago. It’s official: this country’s in a depression.
And before any of my so-called “friends” mention this, yes, I did once dress up like Luke Skywalker and walk around downtown Orlando distributing flyers that advertised my website. HOWEVER, I was totally sober at the time, I didn’t assault anyone, and my costume was so awful that most people just thought I was some kind of karate guy. So the equation in my mind goes something like this:
JG2 costumed idiocy > Times Square Superman costumed idiocy
Stick that in your hunk of Kryptonite and smoke it.