My new (miserable) party trick when some blissfully ignorant new person asks me “what I do” is to turn the conversation—which could go in any number of directions too dark for after hours—to working in Times Square.
My desk literally looks out at the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball, I say, giving them space to interpret whether they think this is a good thing. Let me tell you: It is not. In addition to being located in one of the most tourist-heavy, chain restaurant-bloated, dirty-ass neighborhoods in the world, that iconic Ball is surrounded by walls and walls of ads, as far as (my) eye can see.
Once my eyes adjusted, I became an authority on the ads that run endlessly on a loop, counting down the days of my life. For your pleasure, I’ve ranked the ones currently viewable from my desk from least to most soul-sucking!
6. STOMP: Whatever, who cares. Remember STOMP? This one runs the length of the building that I’m fairly sure also houses Bubba Gump Shrimp
5. AirAsia: I dunno, it’s fine, but most importantly, it doesn’t seem to appear all that often. Visual variety!
4. Spotify: These publicize new releases. Among the ones I can remember: A$AP Ferg and—just today, so new that I exclaimed in joy at something new to stare at—ads for Taylor Swift’s forthcoming album Lover.
3. T-Mobile: “NOW CONNECTING 99% OF AMERICANS,” these ads, which run the full skyscraper length slot, blare. What follows is a series of what look like Instagram Stories, which I can recount for you now from memory, without cheating: delighted woman tourist holding partner’s hand, man with beard at Arches National Park, couple (friends??) dancing at the cookout, girl surfing. Each haunts my dreams like a waking nightmare.
2. Branded Cities: I’m told this is “where brands live.” I have absolutely no idea what this is and I don’t plan on investigating further. The sinister specter it casts is bad enough.
1. The Wonderful Company: Because of watching this (series) of ads display across multiple screens approximately every 45 seconds, I can tell you this corporation is responsible for Pom, Naked pistachios, Halos (those mini mandarin orange things), and Fiji water. I was indifferent to them before, since, I don’t really use any of these products. Now, along with this story about how they effectively own whole towns in California, I hate them with the fire of a million suns.