Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How Times Square Is Like Las Vegas (In a Bad Way)

Memorial Day in hot and sticky New York City -- not the best way to spend a long holiday weekend.

It wasn't all by choice. Tentative plans to spend a day at Fire Island or on a beach in the Hamptons were scrapped when Paul sprained his right ankle jogging before work Friday morning. And since we were going to be in town anyway, I decided to reschedule my appointment to get a small cavity filled and got a last minute slot on Saturday morning.

Between Paul's foot and my mouth, we were (as my mother would say) a couple of sad sacks all day Saturday.

On Sunday, however, Paul's ankle felt at least a little better, and I was again at 100 percent. So we decided to try to get half-priced tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square for the Broadway show "Promises, Promises."

Few New Yorkers like -- and even fewer would admit to liking -- Times Square. I like it ... at night. The neon lights are mesmerizing, and I don't even mind the crowds so much.

The middle of the day is another story. We got there about 2 p.m., and the temperature must have been well into the 80s. The unforgiving sun made walking elbow-to-elbow with sweaty tourists even less appealing. There's just nothing redeeming about Times Square in the middle of the afternoon.

It's like Las Vegas. It sparkles at night, but I've rarely seen an uglier city in the daytime. That's when you go to the casinos ... except in Times Square you have a choice only between Olive Garden and the Hershey store.

In any case, the TKTS booth had sold out of the tickets we were seeking just before we got to the cashier, and the tickets at the box office were too expensive. We spent the afternoon in Central Park, followed by an evening of sushi. Not the Memorial Day weekend I expected, but not bad nonetheless.

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