When I first toured an extensive swath of Manhattan as a kid, I was younger than 11, and remember equating the experience to being in the middle of a theme park. It still feels that way, if not more so, twenty years later.
During the stroll from the Nasdaq board area to the charcoal-sketch artist’s easel, we bypassed a group of kids getting their pictures taken with an adult-size muppet character. These muppets also routinely set up shop along several blocks of 6th Avenue during the holiday season, and I had a big problem with them, and the sidewalk congestion they create, until a few months ago. I’d been sitting on a bench near 42nd Street, cooling off from something that had just happened, and a defeated-looking middle-aged man (who might be somebody’s doting young grandfather) appeared by the bench behind me, fumbling through a huge bag. We exchanged sad smiles and I forgot about him until he left his spot at the bench to slowly walk toward Times Square, wearing a full-on Elmo costume.
Now whenever the street muppets wave at me, I wave back.