Don’t take pictures with Elmo: There’s someone underneath those googly eyes who you don’t know and who will pester you for tips.
Don’t take pictures with Elmo: There’s someone underneath those googly eyes who you don’t know and who will pester you for tips.

The Costumes of New York

One of the benefits of living in Glenside, Pa., is that New York City is only a two-hour drive away, and there are many opportunities to visit through different programs offered by Arcadia. I’ve been to N.Y.C. twice now, once to see Wicked on Broadway and more recently to explore the museums of New York on a trip sponsored by the Art Department. The cost to go was minimal, and I had a blast each time. But what would a good trip be without some misadventures along the way?

If I had to describe the city in one word, I would say it was hectic—especially in Times Square. There are big crowds of people, countless signs and flashing ads, innumerable cars and trucks honking in traffic, and street merchants galore. Another presence dominating the sidewalks of Times Square: people in costumes, many dressed as Elmo. I imagine that young Sesame Street fans are really confused after seeing five incarnations of their favorite character crowding together on a street corner to pose in pictures for tips.

The idea that I should tip the costumed strangers after having my picture taken with them never crossed my mind until the Elmo of the group tapped my shoulder and pointed accusingly at his tip bag. I’m a poor college student, what do you expect from me?

That’s another thing about New York: It forces you to be rude and ignore people to avoid losing your money or signing up for something you don’t really want. But once you learn how to do this, walking the streets becomes much more enjoyable, as you take in the different sights, noises, and smells.

New York is the definitely the place to go to if you want to see some interesting people. As we explored Times Square we saw protesters, a woman who was naked except for some blue paint, the naked cowboy, and a dancing homeless guy (and I thought Austin, Texas, was weird). Some things I could’ve gone without seeing, but hey, it’s all in the experience, right?

Tagged as: