Passersby were alternatively shocked and amused as a naked man, apparently screaming for Donald Trump, totally took over Times Square on Thursday morning.
Passersby watched in amazement as a naked man strutted around on top of the TKTS booth in Times Square Thursday, taunting and spitting at police. The initially unidentified 21-year-old became a rush-hour distraction and a social media spectacle all in one for almost an hour, while bystanders recorded video of his antics.
Reportedly the whole thing started just before 8 a.m. when a man, wearing a yellow shirt and black pants, suddenly screamed at a woman in the street, removed his wristwatch and threw it at her, then took off his clothes near the Disney Store at 46th Street.
According to a witness, Carmen Mendez, a security guard, told the man to put his clothes back on, which he did for a short while. The man suddenly stripped off his clothing again and ran up the stairs on top of the TKTS booth at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, all the while shouting obscenities. Mendez says the man was “agitated.”
While the man in question was apparently mentally disturbed, footage on Periscope, a live video app, went particularly crazy. Instead of a police confrontation with an apparently disturbed person, the video app turned the event into viral entertainment for the online masses.
Police tried in vain to keep the throngs of tourists and onlookers from stopping and staring at him, as the naked man gesticulated, lunged and spat at several officers who climbed on the booth to confront him.
According to Jason Smith, a photographer who lives in the area, at least one police officer pleaded with onlookers to leave the area, but it was futile as people clambered as close to the incident as possible, not wanting to miss a moment.
Smith said he watched the incident for around 30 minutes and that at one point the man started calling for Donald Trump. He reportedly shouted, “Donald Trump where are you, Donald Trump where the f**k are you?!” from a ledge on top of the stairs.
Despite his lack of clothing, the New York Post quotes him as saying, “I love fashion, it’s taught me so much!” all the while dropping the names of two iconic fashion photographers.
“I love you, Bruce Weber,” he shouted. “I love you, Mario Testino.”
Reportedly the man also said he is a virgin and that his loves his mom.
According to Smith, from what he could see the crowd of onlookers thought it was funny for a while, but as time went by it became more serious as it was clear that he might be mentally ill.
As reported by the New York Times, after around 42 minutes, the naked man attempted to run past an officer, who was trying to grab his arm. He then fell, landing on the concrete pavement below. Reportedly police had set up an inflatable platform for the man to have a safe landing, but he missed it when tumbling to the ground.
Another observer, Chappell Ellison said that watching the unfolding scene prompted her to use Periscope for the first time. However, as she kept watching, she realized how serious the incident was, sending a tweet reading: “Might stop watching,” she tweeted. “Worried I might see a human fall off a building.”
Another Periscope user, Wesley Ahlgren, reportedly had a clear vantage point of the incident from a south-facing building close to the booth and recorded 47 minutes of live video. This short video shows a few moments of the incident but readers should be aware it contains nudity.
Officer Arlene Muniz of the New York City Police Department said after the man had fallen from his perch on the TKTS booth in Times Square, he was both conscious and alert. The man was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where he is reportedly in a stable condition and police later identified him as 21-year-old Krit McClean.
Authorities did not state whether McClean would be charged with a crime.