A recent transplant to the city, Dashiell is eager to become a "real New Yorker," so he's asking other New Yorkers to help him discover all the classic New York City locations.
Destination: Times Square.
Guides: Bob Castrone, internet funnyman employed by Times Square-based media conglomerate; Kate Garrick, book pimp, gal about town.
If I really want to know this city, I'm going to have to start at the heart of it all. What better place than "The Crossroads of the World"? Visiting "The Square" (that's what everyone calls it, right?) is like seeing my television come to life. There's the Good Morning America studio, the TRL studio, the other bigger televisions. It's almost like I'm the one who's on TV. I think I just blew my own mind.
But I really want to experience this place the way "real" New Yorkers do. So I asked my friends Bob and Kate for some advice. Bob works for VH1, and he gets to go to Times Square five days a week. How awesome is that?
"It's a huge pain in the ass," he raves. "Times Square is not fun."
Hey, all these people filling up the sidewalks can't be wrong. Kate is equally impressed by the crowds. "One time, it took me twenty minutes to walk from 47th Street to 42nd. Twenty minutes." I guess that's what they mean when they say "hustle and bustle," right?
"Wednesdays are the worst," Bob gushes, "because of the matinees. Busloads of middle-aged women walking at half speed, asking street vendors where the Winter Garden theater is." Now that you mention it, I do regret that I never got to see Cats on Broadway.
There are so many great places to eat, too. I love Sbarro, but I know that when it comes to Italian, some folks do prefer the Olive Garden. How about that Martian space cafeteria? This place really is like an amusement park.
"The secret is to head down to 9th Avenue and Hell's Kitchen," Bob explains. "Tourists are scared to go there because it has the word 'hell' in the title." Interesting. Is that where the Red Lobster is?
Kate says that when she entertains out-of-town visitors, "I always take them to the revolving bar on top of the Marriott Marquis. It's really cheesy in a fantastic way. Beyond that, I never go down there." How cool would it be if every bar in Manhattan revolved? Can you imagine?
Wow, there really are a lot of frickin' people down here!
Now that I've seen this place up close, I do have to admit that it all looks sort of familiar. It actually reminds me of the Meridian Mall in Okemos, Michigan, but with homeless people instead of skateboarders. It's like America came to New York, dropped all its stuff in the middle of 44th Street, and then got in line at the TKTS booth.
Seriously, where the fuck did all these people come from?
"So Bob," I finally ask, "even if you didn't work here, you'd probably still hang out in Times Square all the time, right?"
"Huge crowds, expensive food, and people who are only in the neighborhood because they saw it on TV? If I wanted that I'd go to the Meatpacking District."
Really? I heard that place rocks.
Attention, real New Yorkers: Help The New Guy find his way in this big, bad city. Send destination suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Photo: Alexis Tirado]