A walk through Times Square so often reminds me of the political strategy of “bread and circuses” that existed during the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) in ancient Rome. Rome kept the urban unemployed and poor in its sprawling empire gorged on free food and lots of violent, tawdry entertainment. It was a way of distracting them from thoughts of rebellion, filling their leisure time with a mental diet that ultimately destroyed their health as a culture.
Eighth Avenue in Times Square, New York City, has always been the grittier, less attractive sister to Seventh Avenue. Seventh Avenue enjoys some of the most glittering details of Times Square, while Eighth has a more perfunctory, back street feel. Everything about Eighth Avenue has a “hand-me-down” look to it.