Places on Manhattan 2- Times Square

by joelmckerrow

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Two other places on Manhatten Island (aside from the above entry about Kahlil Gibran’s house) that have gripped me and stood in absolute polarity to each other have been- ‘Times Square’ and what is called ‘The High-line’.

Times Square is indeed the spectacle that it is known for. The HUGE bright lights and billboards and screens as big as buildings and a mass of energy and creativity and people. Yet for all the creativity in Times Square literally EVERY SINGLE part of it was all trying to sell me something- a product, a movie, an experience. There was one monument in the centre of it all of a ‘Father Duffy’, (a Catholic priest and army Chaplain)- which was literally the only thing that wasn’t about making money from the consumer. The monument felt like a bit of anchor for me, holding me to the real in this hyper-real square. Times Square is indeed itself a monument to Hyper-consumer culture.

What kept coming to me as I sat there pondering, was the words ‘Times Square is the whore of creativity”. The place where the amazing talents of so many music makers, movie makers, theatre makers, graphic designers, artists are all exploited for the goal of profit from the consumer masses. There was no creativity for beauty’s sake- nothing that was about taking us further into life and self. I am sure others can see it in different ways and I am sure I would see it in different ways at different times. The question kept coming to me also- ‘What if it was offered to me?’  That is, to take my creativity and have it heard/seen by the masses- would I be willing for the sake of scope of influence- to put a nike logo on it, to put the golden arches on it, to put any brand on it if it meant millions more would hear/see it. Or does the very act of doing this negate the very message that I am trying to convey in my poetry and creativity and life.

Big questions I know.

So this was Times Square- the whore of creativity.

Stay tuned for the next blog about Times Square’s counterpart- ‘The High-line’.

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