Lights still on

It was almost midnight and the air was particularly cold due to some sporadic showers during the night. I was seated on a concrete bench in front of an empty and under remodeling spot between Broadway Avenue and W. 47th Street. After 12:00 am, when the area is less transited, a group of workers starts its shift that consists in adapting and restyling the bare commercial place for a new branch of Swarovski. During the day, the construction remains closed. But at nights, and despite the work is carried out inside, one can see from the sidewalk the lights and sparks going out of the welding machine, as well as the men doing their handiwork. 

Nevertheless, and despite the noise that this activity produces, aside from the continuous transit of workers and materials, this labor seems not being perceived for most of the tourists that at that time still walk around Times Square. Sometimes it gives the impression that the tourists in Times Square are like dazed moths, being trapped by the screens, the lights, the stores, and the street performances. But this is nothing new. Other activities of maintenance and repairing, even developed in the middle of the day, such as cleaning the area, moving the street furniture, or just adjusting and setting up the screens, are also totally opaque by the prevailing spectacle and the brightness of the zone.

Near my place, a group of guys was talking in Spanish, with a strong Caribbean accent, about a kind of “celebrity hunting”. They were doing a communal counting of the celebrities they said they saw that day around Broadway. Everyone was talking at the same time that the others, but everyone was following the enumeration without any problem. The dynamic was saying names and locations. Nobody was writing it down, and each one of them was just throwing information on the air. Suddenly one of them told the rest that due to that conversation they were having right now, they just lost the possibility of meeting another famous that was near blocks far away. One who his last name is Rodriguez. Unfortunately, I was not able to hear his first name. 

The conversation continued over there, but I was distracted by a man who arrived at the place I was. “Excuse me”, he said, “can I ask you something? Why are you here?” Here where?, in Times Square? I replied to him. “Yes, the thing is that I just arrived today in New York for doing an internship, and everyone told me I should come here.” I did not answer him directly about my reason for being in the Square, I just asked him back whether he liked to be there or not. “Sure, it is like being in a movie”. You should come back here early tomorrow and take a walk around the crowd, I told him. “Of course, I will be here again, tomorrow’s afternoon, and I hope to find the lights still on.”