Article Overview:   Last night Times Square was filled with thousands of young children and families at midnight.   Not too many years ago, children and their parents wouldn't go near Times Square.  It was the armpit of humanity.  But something magical happened.   A Harry Potter-like character named Mayor Rudy waved a magic wand over the land, and changed it from the lair of the Beast of Terror into the Land of Vigilance--a safe, secure place where children could come and buy a Harry Potter book at midnight.  Read about the Magic of Times Square.


Saturday--June 21, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 647
Times Square Banishes Monsters Of Terrorism at 12:01 a.m.
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--June 21, 2003--It can happen.   Mothers, fathers, loved ones, and herds of precious children can climb aboard broomsticks, wave magic wands, and display lightening bolts on their foreheads as their wizardry and magic stampedes the Beast of Terror out of Times Square and into the dark, dank alleys of the hinterlands.

First in line (girl on right) to purchase Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

      That was the order of the night in Times Square last evening as hundreds of young adults, children and parents braved a serpentine line snaking around Toys 'R Us to await the tick of Time's clock to fall upon 12:01 a.m--the precise time when J. K. Rowling's latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was officially released worldwide.
       My wife and I trekked up to Times Square at 11 p.m. to record yet another spectacular event in New York City's history--the unveiling of Harry Potter's new book at Toys 'R Us, touted as the largest toy store in the world.   The store is replete with a massive Ferris wheel and a nearly four-story automated dinosaur that roars and growls at millions of onlookers a year.


       Times Square is the heartland of many global events.  The Square is most recognized as the site where a giant ball is dropped to ring in the New Year.    We witnessed that event at Times Square at the turn of the millennium in January, 2000. 

 Changing of the Millennia in Times Square

       The tradition of celebrating New Years in Times Square began with fireworks in 1904.  The first ball was dropped from the Times Building in 1907.   Currently, more than a billion of the 6.2 billion globally view the event on television.
       Earlier this year, Times Square had been a massing place for hundreds of thousands of anti-war protestors who jammed the streets to try and stop the dethroning of Iraq's Beast of Terror, Saddam Hussein.  Times Square was also host to millions who packed it for Victory Europe and Victory Japan Day, hallmarking the end of WWII.
       Often called the "global crossroads," Times Square marks the "X" of modern human urban history, a place where both celebration and protest explode and the Voices of the world can be heard as well as seen. 

A night for kids and parents

       Last night, another chip of history was chiseled into the cornerstone of Times Square.   Harry Potter's fans took over.  It was a night for kids and parents.
       The magic that unfolded was not just that Harry Potter's newest adventure book was being released, but rather the true magic was that Time Square is safe for children.
        A little more than a decade ago, Times Square was a seedy place filled with burlesque, peep shows, pornographic stores and X-rated movies.  Following the Depression, Broadway fell off and old theaters became "grinder" houses, feeding the thirst of eroticism.  More than 140 of such grinder theaters  jammed 42nd Street.  Children and families weren't welcome as the dredges of humanity owned the night around Times Square.

Harry Potter look-a-like

        Times Square became the highest crime area in New York City.  In the early 80's, the State of New York termed 42nd Street a "blighted area."
        But in the wings of a city undergoing decay at the hands of the Beast of Terror was a young man who looks a bit like Harry Potter.   A slight man with eyeglasses, he focused his attention on driving "evil" out of the land.
        His name wasn't Harry Potter, it was Rudy Giuliani.
        He took on crime, just as Harry Potter takes on the monsters and forces of evil in Rowling's books.    Prior to his taking over the job of U.S. Attorney for New York, crime ran free.   It infiltrated almost every aspect of New York City, ensnarling the city in graft and corruption.   Under his reign as U.S. Attorney, Giuliani set a record in 1983 of 4,152 convictions with only 25 reversals.

Harry Potter look-a-like

      But his homeland, as Harry Potter's, was in dire need of magic and wizardry.   New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy and urban collapse.   People feared walking the streets and businesses shied from a city where taxes soared and the quality of life was far below par.
       Giuliani ran for mayor in 1989, and lost in one of the closest races in New York City history.   He came back strong in 1993 and won, then set into motion a sweeping set of reforms that equal the feats of his fictional counterpart, Harry Potter.
       Rallying his Sentinels of Vigilance, he drove overall crime down by 57 percent.  Murders dropped by 65 percent.   Extortionists who held up cars on the street to wash their windows with dirty rags were chased out of town.  Criminals were thrown in jail.   There was a new sheriff in town, and he was riding a Nimbus 1989.
       Mayor Rudy did the impossible.   In the 90's, the FBI declared New York City the "safest large city in the United States.
       But reducing crime wasn't Rudy's goal.  He wanted to banish the Beast of Terror, but to do so, meant he must replace the Beast's lair with something else.    He put Newton's law into effect--"For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction." 
       What could counter something vile and corrupt, the antithesis of evil?
       New York City went through what was termed "Disneyfication."
       In 1992 the Times Square Business Improvement District was formed.   Its task was to raze the lairs of the Beast of Terror and to build in their place palaces of Vigilance, safe, family-friendly stores and environs to replace sinkholes of moral corruption that blighted the community.
      A lease was struck for a Disney Store.  It opened in 1997.   Old stores and theaters were crushed, and fresh new ones rose out of the ashes.

Last night was a tribute to the magic of Mayor Rudy

      Warner Brothers opened their store in 1998 and a rush of other family-oriented stores battled to get prime space in the renewal of Times Square.   Last year Hershey opened a mega-store, and, a couple of years ago Toys 'R Us cut the ribbon on the world's largest toy store where once the slime of humanity swirled.
        Last night was a tribute to the magic of Mayor Rudy.
        Scores of young girls and boys laughed and joked as they stood in a line that snaked its way up and around the block, giggling and sharing their favorite Harry Potter trivia as they waited for the bewitching hour of 12:01, the beginning of the longest day of the year, the summer solstice
        Parents didn't worry about their children seeing horrible sights in Times Square, or fear being mugged, or worry about the guy in the trench coat lurking in the sallow shadows.
        Passing along the line of over a thousand waiting to get their early copies of Harry Potter's fifth saga were costumed members of Toys 'R Us passing out candy, affixing lightening bolt temporary tattoos to willing recipients' foreheads, and performing magic tricks.
        The kids, in black horned-rimmed glasses ala their anti-hero Harry, danced and joked, waving madly and hooting as television cameras panned them, telling the world "they were there," they were at Times Square, the crossroads of the world, to honor Harry Potter.
        I thought about the evolution of Times Square.

Times Square welcomes families in and out of costumes

       The old, dirty, ugly underbelly of its worst nature had been banished.   The reason the city's heart had fallen into decay was the result of political and social Complacency.   The Beast of Terror had made his home in New York City, injecting Fear and Intimidation into all who walked the frightening, drug-infected, muggerly streets.  
        Rudy swung his Sword of Vigilance at the knees of crime, rousting all the scum in sight so he could clean the streets, make them safe.
        Then he went after the business.
        He lured the companies of the world, the Walt Disney's, to covert the "sinkhole" into a city of magic and beauty.
       Central Park, once a graveyard of Terrorism, was scoured by police, driving off the vermin of humanity who preyed on the innocent, helpless.
        Rudy took on organized crime, bashing their claws and ripping out their fangs that clutched the city's businesses, entangling them in fraud and corruption.
        Slowly, the bankrupt, decaying City of New York rose up, washed, shined and regenerated.  It began to sparkle.   The flood of humanity seeking to enjoy its wonders came to visit, cautious at first, then spread the word that New York City was safe, beautiful, bountiful.
         It was a Harry Potter moment.
         The demons of New York City were defeated by Mayor Rudy, the city's own Harry Potter.  He turned the seedy, ugliness of Times Square into a billboard of beauty, resourcefulness, and family affinity.
           And, at the peak of glory, when things just couldn't get any better, the worst of things happened.  The Beast of Terror attacked, smashing down the Twin Towers, assaulting the land where magic had replaced corruption, where beauty had evolved out of ugliness.
          But the city was ready by then.  Its fortresses of Vigilance, its Courage, Conviction and ability to take the Right Actions were in place. Rather than fall to its knees and cry, the city rose up, rallied and, like Harry Potter and his friends, challenged the Beast of Terror with its will and magic to keep New York City a flower rather than letting it go to weed.

Harry Potter countdown nears the flight of the Phoenix

         It was fitting that the fifth Harry Potter book see its release in Times Square.   The area had been reborn and released from the Terrorism of decay.  The Order of the Phoenix continues to wield the Sword of Vigilance.
         For many years, that sword was buried.   Some thought it was lost to crime and corruption, and that the city would crumble into itself as the Beast of Terror roamed freely through political, social and economic sanctuaries.
         But, Mayor Rudy, who looks not unlike a version of Harry Potter, took his Nimbus (magic broom) and swept the city clean. 
         He fought the Beast of Terror and won, proving that Courage can erase Fear, Conviction can overpower Intimidation, and Right Actions for future generations can always stifle Complacency.
         Even after the Beast made a futile attempt to drive the city to its knees in September, 2001, it found the Shields of Vigilance were held up, driving the Beast away.
         Recently, a Terrorist planning to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge told his superiors the bridge was too well guarded, too secure.

Application of Harry Potter Lightening Bolts

       Today, Times Square symbolizes the land of magic and wizardry.

Toys R Us magician contributing to the magic of the evening

       Last night, as I watched the children's happy, excited faces, I thought back to a few years before.   They would not have been there.  Their parents would have made a wide swerve from Times Square at midnight, fearful for their lives and the safety of their children.
         But the magic of Vigilance was apparent last night.
         The city belonged to the children, which it should.  They are its true landlords.
         Harry Potter reminds us all that the world is our children.  They pave the way to the future, and their beliefs in what can be become the visions that shake the foundations of Complacency.
         Last night, Harry Potter was alive and well in Times Square.

 Through Mayor Rudy's and Harry Potter's Swords of Vigilance, Times Square is there for the kids

       I wondered if Mayor Rudy might be disguised somewhere in that Toys 'R Us line, wearing black horned-rimmed glasses, watching the joy of a fresh new generation lined up where dirty old and young men used to hover to leer and jeer.
         I could imagine Mayor Rudy being Harry Potter, filled with the idealism of what can be and not accepting of what is or what can't be.
         Then, as I studied the faces of the young boys and girls, I realized that among them was the next Mayor Rudy, a young boy or girl who might take a decaying city, or a frightened group of people who thought they were stuck forever in the shadow of Terrorism, and remind them about the magic and wizardry of Vigilance.
        I was betting there were a lot of Mayor Rudys, able to turn the tides on the Beast of Terror.
        I was glad Harry was at Times Square.
        And, I was happy Times Square is there for the kids.


Harry Potter Party at Times Square

Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix turns the tide on Terrorism


June 20--Harry Potter vs. The Beast of Terror

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design