It’s 7:30am, I sleepily get off the bus, connect to wifi, and see that Times Square is nearby. Great, I think to myself, I’ll wander in that direction. I haven’t done any research, but I’ve heard that, as one source puts it, “the blazing wonderland… is a sight to behold”.
Twenty minutes later, I begin to notice an increasing number of advertisements on huge screens overhead. I’m on a bustling street, littered with brand-name shops and overtaken by visual pollution, a result of capitalist America. This can’t be it! I tell myself. I continue to wander, occasionally checking my map to confirm that I am, in fact, in Times Square. I expect there to be a big, open square, but I see nothing that meets my expectations. I know there are shows and events here and probably some good dining. And I’m sure the nighttime scene is slightly more impressive. But this space represents and promotes a consumeristic (new word?) culture. I just don’t get it. Why is this place so popular? Why do people care enough to make it popular? What’s the big deal?
I can enjoy a city with lots of people, lights, and things to look at. But the things to look at here are all advertisements. Leave it to a big American city to plaster its buildings with live advertisements and call it a tourist site. Why thousands of tourists flock here each year, I’ll never understand. Is this what we value in a city? In travel and tourism? I suppose if you want to see capitalism in all it’s glory, then NYC, you’ve surely outdone yourself!
I propose that, instead of making Times Square an intentional stop on your trip to NYC, you instead boycott it. A form of silent protest against what this hideous place represents. It won’t bring you any true satisfaction, so don’t perpetuate the myth of beauty that lies here. Close your wallet, relax your eyes, and do something worthy of your time.
Until next time, remember that the biggest money-saver is not buying anything at all.