Live From Times Square: NYC Is A Wild Kingdom

by AMANDA MELILLO · May 16, 2008

Times Square, WildlifeWhat I love about living in New York: You never know what"s going to happen, who you"re going to meet, or what bizarre encounters you"re going to have. "Expect the unexpected" should be our motto, despite the fact that it sounds like a theme park slogan.


I attended a lunch event by the South Carolina tourism association at the Bryant Grill for the magazine that I intern for, and was greeted at the door by a Native American reservation chief dressed in full garb, watched New Yorkers shake their reserved exteriors and start dancing to "The Twist" with a live performance by Chubby Checker, was made by Chubby to get up and dance in front of a bunch of strangers, and then told by a woman dressed just like Aunt Jemima,"You got up there and did your thing, girl!"

So, being a lifelong Northerner, I guess snake dancing was the only logical procession for the next day. Well, not snake dancing, exactly. Inwardly rejoicing at the end of a long workweek last night, I found my way to the 47th Street N train entrance blocked by a growing knot of people crowding around—a woman with a giant snake draped across her shoulders. Apparently some guy with his own little animal kingdom occasionally takes his creatures out for a night on the town, letting tourists get to feel like a snake charmer while his photographer takes souvenir photographs for you. I say this because he kept telling the crowd, "No unauthorized pictures!" as scads of tourists vied to be the next in line to feel the crushing weight of a python on their shoulders. Of course, I ignored this and took pictures anyway, along with the rest of the crowd. Come on, snake man. You think you can work crowd control on a bunch of Times Square tourists in the age of camera phones?

My favorite part was the crowning moment, pun intended, of when he let his parrot stand on this woman"s head.

So readers: What"s the most interesting street show you"ve unexpectedly encountered?

Times Sqyare, Wildlife