Times Square: Lasting Impressions by and for Tourists

08/05/2013 05:24 pm ET | Updated Oct 05, 2013

So, our extended summer stay in NYC started at the Disney Store in Times Square. Our youngest son is a fan of all the major super heroes. This season he's deeply and profoundly into Iron Man. At nine, he found a costume that's the largest available and a squeeze for him to get into. For better or worse, he doesn't just want to wear the suit around the hotel room. He wants to do what all costumed wonders do in NYC... go to Times Square and take pictures with tourists. Sam doesn't let details like he's a tourist himself or he's just a kids stop his determination. Also, he has no interest in getting tips, he just wants other kids to enjoy getting photos with Iron Man. And because as parents, we like to support our kids' initiative and enthusiasm, we said yes to the Iron Man project.

Which means I traipse over to Times Square, holding Iron Man's hand through traffic and hoards of people. Comments I've overheard this week have been the following:

"Hey, want to get a picture with baby Iron Man?"

"I didn't know Iron Man had a son."

"That's cute kid, but where are your parents?"

"Your parents brought you out here to do this? Cool."

Yes, well, it is cool. It's freaky though because in the city where I'm from they don't let naked people walk the streets. How am I jumping to this topic, you might ask?

Well, as I tailed my Iron Man through Times Square, we stumbled upon naked people. No, I'm not talking the Naked Cowboy. He was nowhere in sight. Seeing him would have been a relief. As I recall from seeing him a few years back, he actually wears underwear.

We ran into naked women. Well, they had thongs on, so I'm probably being too hasty in calling them naked. They were wearing body paint. But they clearly had no tops on and they were collecting tips, lots of tips, from gawkers in Times Square.

In my home town of Los Angeles, California, that mostly goes on behind closed doors in buildings. I think they call them strip clubs. But in your beautiful city I guess it's legal, because I saw New York City's finest walk right past them. And let me say for the record, I don't really care either way. Except that my nine-year-old son seemed to and that made me care a bit more. He stopped dead in his Iron Man tracks and asked why those girls were dressed that way. Needless to say, I gently guided him to another part of family friendly Times Square. But not before I snapped a few pictures to show a few friends and my husband. He didn't seem too outraged.

If baby Iron Man and painted body women can prance the same streets at ground level among thousands of people taking pictures, then I guess anything is possible. God Bless America! And God Bless New York City! It's a wonderful diverse world.

I have to admit, I needed a mommy rest after navigating Times Square this week. Where are the guys in white hats when you need them?

Times Square