I'm originally from North Jersey and remember the "bad old" Times Square from when I was a little kid, and from some of my favorite literature. (Anyone who can find it should read "Close to the Knives" by David Wojnarowicz!) I hadn't been there since before Rudy Giuliani's anti-smut crusade, and I was taking a red-eye bus trip from Virginia back to Boston. This involved a 2 hour layover at Port Authority from 4 AM to 6 AM, so I decided to see for myself if any vestige of the Times Square I know and love still remained. To my relief, a few of the porn shops were still there (2 years ago anyway), and I was hassled by a few homeless guys.

But the real proof that the heart of the city could survive any oppression came after I circled the block and came back to 8th Avenue, two blocks north of the bus station. A line of crackheads was standing by the wall, and as I passed them I smiled inwardly at their presence and the resiliance of the underground (at least I think the smile was inward, but from what follows I can't really be sure). When I was about halfway to the corner, a short stout crackhead with missing teeth stepped away from the building and approached me. "Where you going tonight, honey," she said. "I bet you got a big one. Let's go have some fun." I smiled at her and said that I had to get going, but this was New York so of course she persisted. Reaching down to my crotch and showing no hesitation as she grabbed my package, she said "Ooh baby, you don't have to go nowhere without me. Let's go get a hotel room." Somehow I had the idea that it would be wrong to forceably remove her hand from my genitals, and I may have been just a little intimidated by all the people around, and my being the only white boy, so I just kept walking. My suitor stayed in pace with me, all the while her hand on my jewels and scepter. "What's the matter baby, you don't like to have fun?" she said, and I had to break it too her that I guessed I didn't. But that was a lie, because I did have fun that night, and I think all the spectators did too. I swear on my honor that all this is true, and as I got on the bus that morning with the sun rising, I was satisfied that some things don't change, and that our most primitive agressions will always have an outlet.