Remember how we went to New York City in October? I never blogged our bloopers, most of which happened around Times Square probably because I peed on it when I was 19 years old while waiting for that stupid ball to drop…
My son is Southern. He was born and bred in Richmond, Virginia, and while Richmond may technically be a city, it’s not crowded no matter what a Virginian might say about getting to Short Pump at 5 p.m.. However, a New York subway stop Time Square at lunchtime, or really any time, is crowded. This meant that most of our experience of getting to and from the subway platforms particular when we decided the kids would LOVE TIMES SQUARE were spent not silent or filled with random cell phone conversations and iPod music snippets, but with my son kindly saying: Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry. Excuse me. Pardon me. So sorry.
I’m pretty sure New Yorkers thought he spoke a foreign language and at least eight of them switched to the other side of the stairs WITH FEAR.
After we finished excusing half of New York for trying to get to the subway, we walked towards Times Square. As in most cities, a strange smell wafted up from the grates and the construction, which compelled my son began a helpful campaign of letting every person who walked by us for the next two blocks know by yelling at them: HOLD YOUR NOSE! IT SMELLS!
I actually think people appreciated that one although I’m not sure they knew who or what “it” was at least he wasn’t predicting the end of the world or selling them gold watches.
We finally reached Time Square, and my kids couldn’t quite understand why we had bothered coming here after FAO Schwartz and Central Park. I reminded them that Spider Man comic books took place here and my son was slightly placated. After five minutes of watching commercials on giant televisions and trying to explain Broadway to them, we were giving up when a favorite character of my kids appeared: Hello Kitty!
She seemed a little shabby, but I noticed 7-10 other recognizable characters so I thought that the Disneyfication of Times Square was in full swing, and I was being too hard on her. I encouraged my children to say hi to Hello Kitty thinking it would turn the stinky street of people who didn’t appreciate a good pardon me right around for them.
She was delighted to see them, immediately hugging them both and then demanded money.
Holy crap, I had introduced my kids to Hello Scam Artist Kitty.
Yes, a person had rented a Hello Kitty costume with seven of her closest friends, and they were panhandling in them. Sneaky genius bastards.
My kids looked confused, and I told her that we didn’t have a dollar. I slunk off feeling defeated by a city that I had once thought of as my own since my other choice growing up was Bridgeport, Connecticut. We went into the Walgreens at Times Squares to get a few toiletries which is merely a very large Walgreens, but besides charging twice as much, it was comforting because WE HAVE THESE AT HOME, and by “home,” I now meant “Richmond,” where we don’t have children’s characters who play on my kids’ hearts and make me feel like a country bumpkin.
After magically wasting 25 minutes in there, we walked out and headed towards the subway station. My son, still clutching his I Love New York Hello Kitty from FAO Schwartz, asked: Can I hug Hello Kitty one more time?
Scott looked at me and said mostly with his eyes: I have a dollar now that we’ve been to Walgreens.
My son’s question reminded me that I don’t have dress up in a dirty Hello Kitty outfit and beg for money to make few dollars. Maybe I am foolish, but I can’t even buy chap stick at the Times Square Walgreens for a buck. However, my kids really loved Hello Kitty. Was that worth a dollar?