Neighborhood Highlights

Must-See Times Square

by staff, 12/25/2012

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  • Times Square Characters
    Even by New York City standards, Times Square offers a dense concentration of attention-getting gentlemen and ladies. Take, for example, the Naked Cowboy (aka Robert Burck), a young man who has parlayed playing acoustic guitar in a cowboy hat and skivvies into a full-fledged career (follow your dreams, kids.) While his act and the concept behind it are whimsical, he takes the pursuit very seriously, and has sued his rival, the so-called Naked Cowgirl, for trademark infringement. He eventually dropped the charges but did start licensing out his image to other aspiring Naked Cowboys and Cowgirls. He even announced a run for president in 2012, although it seems no serious campaigning ever took place.

    Another prominent Times Square presence is the abundance of renegade Disney and Sesame Street characters. Not officially licensed by their creators, and usually in costumes that seem a tad different from the genuine article, these individuals are generally hustling for tips. You may want to keep your distance—a man in an Elmo costume was, rather famously, arrested for his disruptive, bigoted ramblings earlier this year.

    On a happier note, costumed Broadway show promoters (we've seen ones wearing cheerleader outfits for Bring It On and cabaret gear for Chicago) frequently use their talent and creativity to lure passersby into their shows. And, while jaded New Yorkers may not often stop to take advantage of the services offered by caricaturists, for visitors the drawings can be a fun personalized keepsake. —JZ

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