The Angel of Times Square

Lost in a dark and desolate section of Manhattan, she was fearful about finding her way to the bright lights of midtown.

By Jennie Wilson, Lynchburg, Virginia

As appeared in

New York City never gets dark at night, not the way it does in the country. That’s one thing that always fascinates me whenever I make the seven-hour trip from Lynchburg, Virginia. But by the time my two friends and I hopped off the Circle Line boat tour, the meatpacking district was a ghost town.

The bright lights of Times Square, where we were heading for dinner, seemed far away. “Doesn’t the city make you nervous?” one of my friends asked as we walked to the bus terminal.

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The Big Apple could be overwhelming for folks not used to it, but I came up often. I loved everything from the serenity of Central Park to the views from the Statue of Liberty’s pointed crown, from the stars on Broadway to the street performers of Washington Square Park.

I knew if we kept walking we’d hit civilization.

But the streets remained empty. Not even a cab passed by. I sent up a silent prayer.

“What are you ladies doing around here this late?” a voice asked. “It’s not safe.”

I jumped. It was a street vender, pushing his hot pretzel cart along the potholed street. It rattled so much on the uneven asphalt, it was a wonder I hadn’t heard him approach. I told him our destination. “Follow me,” he said.

For some reason, I knew we could trust him. We walked with him for several blocks, until we reached the bus to Times Square. Soon we’d be back in the hustle and bustle, back in the light. “You’ll be okay now,” he said.

My friends and I crossed the street. I turned to wave goodbye. He was gone. I hadn’t even heard his pretzel cart rattle away.

 

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