Times Square may be a shining, slightly nauseating beacon of tourist activity and overpriced Mister Softee cones, but New Yorkers know that it still thrums with the bizarre and seamy elements that made it the place to not be in the 70s and 80s.
Case in point: The New York Times reported today that a clash between the “Weed Man In a Box” (a man who wears a box over his head and asks tourists for money with a poster-board that reads “I am the weed man. I am too sexy for you to see me,” natch) and one of his fellow panhandlers turned violent on Friday night.
The Weed Man is accused of stabbing “Beer Man” Wayne Semancik, 56, five times in the head and chest with a pen.
Mr. Semancik told The Times that the Weed Man, whom he knew as “Andre” but who the Manhattan District Attorney identified as Dwight Laird, had told a local newspaper that “all of his competitors were con artists, drug addicts and thieves,” infuriating fellow panhandlers.
“I’m not a drug addict, baby,” Mr. Semancik, who typically holds a sign that says “Spare change for pot, pizza and beer,” told The Times.
Relations had always been tense between the Beer Man and the Weed Man, but escalated on Friday when Mr. Laird allegedly spat in Mr. Semancik’s face. Mr. Semancik punched him, and Mr. Laird made use of a pen in his pocket to allegedly stab him in the nose, chin, scalp and chest.
“When you spit in my face, darling, I’m going to hit you. I don’t care who you are, how big you are, I’m going to hit you,” Mr. Semancik told NY1. “So the man, he pulled out a pen because I was hitting him, and he started stabbing me in the face, and I have five stab wounds in my face right now.”
Supporting Times Square characters who were questioned about the incident include Alien and Predator, Buzz Lightyear, Mario and Luigi, Hello Kitty, and various Elmos and Cookie Monsters.
Can’t they all just get along?