From getting followed by a street performer with a snake to getting into a heavy argument with individuals drawing caricatures, my time in New York City was certainly memorable. For context, the trip was a last-minute decision between a friend and I. We both didn’t know what to expect from NYC, other than the fact we were heading to the Jacques Torres Chocolate Museum as our first destination. After we had absolutely stuffed ourselves with chocolate tasting, we decided to head into Times Square…
You always think you’re street savvy until it’s time to get street savvy. My friend and I were taking photos, buying souvenirs and doing anything else typical tourists do so, in hindsight, we shouldn’t have been too surprised when a street seller approached us. He had a few lanyards around his neck with ID information so I didn’t think anything was suspicious. The street seller proceeded to tell us about a comedy club show happening in the evening. We were told it was THE hotspot and that the guestlist featured an array of aspiring comedians, plus a famous face. To be honest, alarm bells should have started to ring at this point but my friend and I were intrigued.
Every doubtful question I raised with the seller was returned with a more convincing answer. Part of me knew the event seemed too good to be true, but I didn’t think to question it more as the seller sure knew how to persuade! We were also told we’d be given tickets for a discounted rate of 30 dollars. We were sold. The seller rapidly gave us our tickets then hurried away. Hmm strange, I thought. My friend and I looked down at our tickets and decided to see where the location was. The seller DID say it was around the block, but for two tourists that didn’t mean anything.
With the help of Google Maps, we arrived to the supposed venue. Guys, it was a tiny and dirty-looking side door, if you can even call it that, besides a crumbling wall. Sketchy AF. That can’t be right, we thought, but oh it was. Another street seller promoting the same show was sat outside the door. Just as I was about to open my mouth, a family RUN out of the door. Yes, RUN. The male in the family looked right at us and warned us to stay away. I could barely process what was going on, but I remember him mentioning his family weren’t let out the venue until they paid for X amount of drinks. A condition which the street seller failed to mention or print onto the ticket. Hmmmm. The male proceeded to tell us cocktails started at an outrageously inflated price, which didn’t surprise me as we were in Times Square, but the fact his family were almost held hostage was enough to frighten anyone, let alone two college students. Oh, and the ‘promised’ guestlist wasn’t as advertised either. Like, at all.
I felt like this run-in with the family was a big enough sign to my friend and I. We weren’t about to start messing with destiny! We did, however, decide to track down the street seller back at Times Square. Guys, this was literally like looking for a needle in a haystack. After a few hours, yes hours, we ran into another seller who told us he would keep an eye out for the original seller but I knew he was bluffing. I highly doubt two colleagues would rat each other out...
My friend and I knew we were wasting our time patrolling the streets of Times Square in hopes of getting our refund. We could only laugh it off, until a massive snake appeared behind our heads. That’s a story for another day though!
See you in the next post!