2016 NYC Trip Photos #23: Times Square for Old Times’ Sake

NY Gifts!

Manhattan nighttime even makes mere souvenir shopping look cooler.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

After our Wicked matinee and dinner, my wife and son were wiped out and done sightseeing for Day Five. I had a bit of energy left and one more errand I wanted to run. Anne was a little uneasy letting me go traipsing alone through the streets of New York City, but I promised I wouldn’t be out all night. My destination was an easy half-mile walk, and gave me an excuse for one last stroll through the electric scenery of Times Square.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #11: Time Yet Again for Times Square

Duffy Square!

The red stairs of Duffy Square: where all the cool vacationers come to sit down and appear in the backgrounds of everyone else’s photos.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Returning to Times Square was inevitable, and not just because our hotel was a few blocks away. All those colossal neon ad campaigns attract tourists like we’re wingless moths, but instead of electrocuting us, they hope to implant latent signals that will one day activate on a time delay and zap our mental processing centers till we agree to empty our wallets and purses in the general direction of the products, goods, or services that previously loomed above us and dominate our vacation slideshows.

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Our 2011 Road Trip #25: Our Last Times Square Parade

New Year's Eve ball!

This New Year’s Eve ball may be retired, but it’s still got enough magic in it to perform random countdowns to nothing in particular. Kids love countdowns.

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

Sooner or later, everyone who can’t afford to live in New York has to leave New York. With a handful of hours left on Day Six, it was our turn to start spreading the news and leave here today. We voted unanimously for one last walk through Times Square — one last chance to immerse ourselves in that vibrant hodgepodge teeming with life and lights and wonder and costumes and tourists needing directions and open-air claustrophobia, often not in that order.

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Our 2011 Road Trip #16: Bright On Broadway

Lion King Mask!

“MUFASA WELCOMES YOU AND REMINDS YOU TO TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES.”

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

After plumbing the depths of Grant’s Tomb we had an afternoon appointment for our very first Broadway show: The Lion King. But first we had to get there. The trip down from 122nd Street to 45th Street wasn’t a short one.

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Ads of Darkness, Ads of Light

Suicide Squad!

Some movie posters want to sell you happy fun times using all the colors of the rainbow. In terrible times like these, not everyone wants to embrace the dark side. Sometimes even our creepiest antiheroes are redrawn to radiate with kaleidoscopic pop-art joy in hopes of convincing tourists and natives alike that our next trips to the theater will leave us smiling and cheering while murderers and other malcontents save the day. Apparently that’s why the Suicide Squad now stands tall above Times Square looking as far removed from murky Zack Snyder dystopia as possible.

Meanwhile in other universes, other antiheroes couldn’t care less whether you smile or shudder.

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Our 2011 Road Trip, Part 5: Toys R Us Kicks

T-Rex!

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

It’s our first evening in New York City. We’re in Times Square. We’re wandering and gaping and acting like overwhelmed tourists. It’s who we are. We knew sooner or later we had to enter a store instead of just staring at their flickering big-screen ads.

They say there are eight million stories in the naked city. Nine million if you count its toys.

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Our 2011 Road Trip, Part 4: You Can’t Spell Times Square Without “Mess”

Times Square!

The glitz! The glamor! The glory! The ads for washers and insurance and Michael Bay films!

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

After escaping Newark with our lives, we docked our car at scenic Lincoln Harbor in harmless midscale Weehawken and checked in to our unexpectedly swank hotel. Despite the modest AAA three-diamond rating, our room had two flatscreen TVs, a toilet with two different kinds of flushing buttons, gold-toned bathroom fixtures, an anteroom with couch and spacious desk, luxurious non-threadbare blankets, free AT&T Wi-Fi, and an impeccable, fawning staff. We appreciated the amenities, even though we didn’t need ’em ’cause now we were all hardcore. It’s funny, how driving through Newark changes a man.

With our luggage dropped off and our sense of adventure fully stoked, we took a New Jersey Transit bus through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel (which for me was a moment of WHEEEEE! because long dark tunnels are a peculiar source of fun) and disembarked inside the legendary Port Authority, a multi-level labyrinthine nexus of countless bus stops and other mass-transit connections. Depressing, bustling, underlit, and energetic all at once, the Port Authority and its assorted mall-shaped stores would be our transportation hub for the week.

Right this way to our first set of Times Square photos!

Indiana Ad Campaign Targets Unsuspecting, Hopefully Well-Connected Times Square Tourists

Indiana business ad

There’s more than corn in Indiana! Now we’re gonna have trips to MARS. Your move, Kentucky.

I’m used to seeing other states infiltrating Indiana’s airwaves with their vacation ads. Ohio, Tennessee, and even faraway Florida have been grasping at our wallets for years. Michigan even stepped up their game a while back by hiring the Tim Allen to narrate their radio ads in dulcet, nature-loving tones, mesmerizing us with the possibilities of boating and hiking and exploring the wonders of God’s creation due north of us, all while carefully sidestepping the whole Detroit thing.

This week, Indiana decided to strike back and dream big. Rather than harass our mediocre neighbors, the Powers That Be struck a deal that leapfrogged over Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the northwest corner of New Jersey to target the Big Apple itself. In an even brasher move against the colossus that is New York City, we’re not even bragging about our welcoming tourist trade, our copious sports-related attractions, or our much cheaper downtown parking. Apparently we’re looking for a few good businesses.

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