girls girls.

A couple months ago I walked through Times Square and found tourists sitting in beach chairs, sunning themselves in the rays that peeped through the shadows of the high rise buildings.  They watched current events on giant flat screen TV’s and sucked on soda pop.  Perhaps their children were riding the Ferris wheel in Toys ‘R Us.  I imagined they were debating which fine dining establishment they would visit and only have to walk a block or two.  I wondered how many of these people were in NY for the first time, and if this is what they thought NY was.  If they went back home and bragged to their friends and neighbors how they saw Lion King, ate NY pizza, sat in Times Square, took one of those weird rides that looked like a tricycle for 8 and understood why NY was so great.  I wondered if these people knew there were rat infested beer joints in the East Village where rock bands played for free Budweiser?  Did they know about the beautiful people that trolled Soho window shopping in fancy stores for clothes they couldn’t afford?  Had they seen two men holding hands in Chelsea?  The street vendors on 125th street?  The Meadow in Central Park where people still sell dime bags to everyone from high schoolers in bikinis to hippies playing Frisbee to couples lounging on beach towels to book worms buried in the most recent Harry Potter?  Had visitors of NY actually had a real NY slice of pizza?  Did they know how beautiful the Brooklyn Bridge was?  Had they watched the pick-up soccer games in almost every park in NY?

Growing up in NY in the 80’s Times Square was not a destination.  It was to be avoided.  It’s where you went if you needed to score drugs.  You couldn’t pass through without being solicited by a prostitute.  If you ate or drank there it was because you were actually looking for a dirty beer joint with cheap burgers and hot dogs.  Teenagers came to get fake ID’s they didn’t even need to use.

When I graduated college my first apartment was blocks from Times Square.  I moved in April 1999.  Old decrepit buildings were being knocked down and replaced by high rises with glass walls.  The homeless were being replaced by high powered execs in fancy suits.  The beer joints were becoming expensive restaurants with $15 cocktails.  The sex shops had become souvenir joints selling miniature Empire States Buildings.  The day I moved in I had to wake up a drunk on my stoop and help him to the next stoop just so I could get in my front door.  The first time I used the Laundromat, a prostitute ask if she could keep me company while I folded.  I didn’t see the drunk or the prostitute again, and when I moved out 10 months later I looked for them.  But they, like the NY I knew, could no longer be found in a Times Square that was like Disney on speed bathed in an internal glow and giving a new meaning to “the city that never sleeps”.  A meaning, I fear, is more like a misinterpretation.  People come to Times Square and think they’ve seen NY.  I think they’ve missed it.

Daryl Freimark grew up in NY in the 80’s and early 90’s.  He spent his teen years drinking 40’s of malt liquor and watching his friends catch tags on the sides of buildings on the dangerous Upper West. Daryl moved from his hoodlum youth to attend Vassar College and eventually co-produced Hairspray (2007). He recently produced a music video for The Lonesome Heroes, along with several promotional spots for (check website here). He has film and TV projects in development with hopes of producing in the near future. Daryl is set to make his acting debut in the short film PINKiE (which will be available online shortly).  Naturally, he’s an avid Mets fan still longing for the days of Doc and Darryl.