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The New York Experience

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Simon Song

October 22, 2003

Sarah Krashoc, 8, from Annapolis, MD. at the Hershey's Store

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[Editor's note: For three days we are featuring excerpts from Simon Song's weblog, "My Trip to New York: It Worked!"

Simon is a Chinese photographer who was assigned to the NY Daily News this summer, and we love his weblog for its humorous and often touching observations about NYC, and about what news photographers go through on their jobs.

To read his log from the very start of the trip, go to the Monday, June 2 entry.]

It is a surprise to visit the Hershey's Times Square store. So many chocolate candies, in different packages. I visited the Hershey's factory years ago, but still feel happy to see so many good stuffs here.

I stopped by the Times Square ticket booths before I went to Hershey's store. This is the place where people can buy discount tickets for the Broadway and off-Broadway shows. It starts to sell tickets at 3 pm for tonight's shows, but when I got there, dozens of people were lining up at 12:30. I only saw one Broadway show 'Cats' and that was years ago. So I am thinking of seeing a couple more, maybe the musical 42nd Street, or Chicago, which was put into a film. The musical is good for us foreigners, because they are easy to understand and to enjoy. But those serious ones, such as Rent, or other satire shows, it will be hard for us with a different cultural background.

Before I left Times Square to head to office, the heavy clouds and the gloomy sky made Times Square different from I used to see. Traffic lights and neon lights sparkled in darker color and the floating colorful umbrellas in the drizzle made the scene a moving picture before my eyes. And, I thought, I was part of the picture too, in the eyes of somebody else, who was taking his time enjoying the Times Square.

Life is beautiful. It cannot be always beautiful, but if you decide to enjoy, it will definitely show you its beauty to you.


The newspaper reports today that a huge billboard was put up in Times Square, promoting a porn-star's website. On the billboard, it says: "Who says they cleaned up Time Square?"

In America, not only those who have done something great can become celebrities. Anybody who has done something that has attracted the public's attention, no matter it is good or bad, can be a celebrity. And people don't feel ashamed when they do something immoral. This "celebrity culture" thing, I really don't like.

Times Square is a public place, numerous tourists, adults and kids. Although I was told that it was used to be full of indecent places around this area back in the 1980s, but things have changed and become clean. Is it changing back? Hope not.

I went to the Planet Hollywood Times Square at noon. Some action movie stars started this business and it is very successful. But I was kind of disappointed when I went inside. It looked not that typical, although it had some authentic things from different movies.

Sometimes people go to a certain restaurant not for its food, but for something special. Maybe this concept led the Planet Hollywood, and many other restaurants as well, to huge successes. It serves regular American food, burgers, fries, salads, etc. But people have the feeling of eating in an environment in a movie, or, I should say, closer to the movie stars they like--another aspect of celebrity culture.


































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