Ok so FIRST OF ALL, this story takes place a looooong time ago. Like, 2005, probably. 14 years ago. That’s one entire Tweenage Disney Channel Sitcom Star ago.
My first boyfriend — in college — because Late Bloomers Gonna Bloom Late — grew up in New York City. My first time happened when I was visiting him during a college break. And like most things that happen to us for the first time in college, it was ultimately disappointing and — well, you’ll see.
We had just finished seeing a one-man piano revue at Don’t Tell Mama’s on 46th between 8th & 9th. Isn’t that the most New Yorkiest sentence you ever read? And afterwards, my then-boyfriend asked me if I wanted to walk over to Times Square.
“Oh, is that near here?” I asked.
Like I said! This was a looooong time ago. I was young! And naive! And really bad at geography! (I still am! Bad at geography. But I know how to find the important stuff).
Well, Times Square was supposed to be glamorous! Hold your guffaws, please, my fellow New Yorkers. Us transplants all grew up with the notions from old movies and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve that Times Square was the heart of the 🎶 concrete jungle wet dreams are made of 🎶. Dammit, Alicia Keyes!
Which is how I ended up in Times Square for the very first time in my adult life. Now, this is the first time I ever remember being in Times Square.
Which is to say, I don’t actually remember it at all.
For context, it was probably some random day of the week. I’m gonna make it up: Thursday, August 4th, 2005. WHATEVER it was, I failed to realize before going to Times Square for the very first time, that Thursday, August 4th, 2005 was also National LITERALLY EVERYBODY GO TO TIMES SQUARE DAY!!!!!
Now, this was back in the day BEFORE Broadway was closed down and turned into a pedestrian area, so the sidewalks were JAM PACKED with tourists with nowhere to escape to. I remember being pointed out all the Important Times Square Landmarks: The Hershey Store! The M&Ms Store! The … Olive Garden! But not seeing any of it above the sea of tall-people-heads that crowded all around me. I wished I could slow down and take a look, but it was like being caught in a slow-moving, jostling, swirling whirlpool of sweaty tall people. It was like being a scared, innocent raspberry in a Vitamix filled with tourists. It was like…
After what seemed like hours, but was actually only 4 blocks (which might have taken hours, who knows??? Times Square is a giant time-suck and it takes forever to get through it), we hopped on a train back to his parents’ apartment in Chelsea. Probably the 9 train. I told you!! This shit went down like, in the Jurassic period. Ahh, Chelsea. I could handle Chelsea. Same wide sidewalks, FAR fewer humans. And I swear to God I didn’t go back to Times Square again for years. And that’s the way it should be.