Rapper Climbs Traffic Light, Halts Times Square Traffic
An aspiring rapper stalled traffic in New York City's Times Square for almost two hours on Tuesday morning (June 28), after he climbed a traffic light and perched himself on top.
Raymond Velasquez, a 34-year-old Sea Gate, Brooklyn man, hoisted himself up the pole on 44th St. and 7th Ave. at approximately 9:15AM, after being thrown out of MTV studios. He held court atop the traffic light, closing down three blocks of traffic in the middle of bustling Times Square.
"He just kicked back like he was in a lawn chair," an onlooker told the The New York Times. "Then he got bored and starting doing pull-ups on the beams."
Police covered the street below Velasquez with an inflatable cushion, and parked an emergency services truck below the light, attempting to talk the rapper, who performs under the moniker Coney Island Joe -- check his MySpace here -- down. Instead, he offered the officers a copy of his CD, and continued his off-beat brand of self promotion, alternately dropping CDs to the ground, flexing and inaudibly rapping at ABC's 'Good Morning America' studios and the MTV building, spitting line after line to a cheering crowd of onlookers who could not hear a word.
Then, at approximately 11:15AM, as spontaneously as he first mounted the pole, Velasquez inexplicably climbed back down onto the roof of a police vehicle, where he was handcuffed and taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for evaluation. The New York Post captured video footage of the bizarre incident.
The would-be rapper has a history of such televised stunts, previously interrupting a broadcast of BET's '106 & Park' and jumping barriers outside the 'Today' show back in February, shouting "I'm God's gift to music!"
Police said Velasquez will likely be charged with reckless endangerment.