Bwogger James Perry details the traumatic experience of walking through Times Square.

It’s Saturday night. I’m sitting alone on the 1 train, on my way to meet a friend from home. I don’t have service, so I stare out the window and watch the stops pass by. As I stand in the middle of the car, holding on to a handrail, a feeling of dread grows in my stomach. 96th, 72nd, Columbus Circle… finally, my stop: Times Square – 42nd Street.

I haven’t been to Times Square since the first time I was in New York over a year and a half ago. Was I missing out on much? No, I don’t think so. I spent at least three minutes trying to find my way out of the station. As I walked up the stairs, I braced myself for the inevitable. Sooner than I would have liked, at least 10 different smells simultaneously bombarded me, and I had to swerve out of the way of 5 people selling bus tours and discounted comedy tickets. It took me a few minutes longer to make my way to my destination, which (thankfully) was two avenues away from Times Square.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see someone from home again! We spent a while chatting about how our lives have been after high school and comparing our experiences. We got boba. I explained what Bwog is. I enjoyed spending time with my old friend!

However, we eventually migrated back to Times Square. It was like playing Temple Run, if there were tourists instead of walls, tourists instead of bridges, tourists instead of coins… people who didn’t know that it’s acceptable to jaywalk if there aren’t any cars coming… people taking selfies, so many selfies. My friend and I took selfies. I was only slightly ashamed of myself.

As soon as it was time for us to part, we hugged and I practically ran back down to the 42nd Street station. My stomach hurt. Was it from the milk in the boba? From gearing all of my muscles for battle? From catching a disease very quickly from a stranger? As I stepped onto the Uptown train I felt better, safe again knowing that I would be back 74 streets to the north in half an hour.

Times Square via Wikimedia