Times Square Scam Photo

times square scam

(Click to enlarge)

Times Square in New York City used to be known as the headquarters of vice and con men. A few days ago, I took the above picture on 42nd Street, capturing a very interesting scam. Can you guess what it is? It will probably help to enlarge the photo.

If you think you know, post the answer in the comments section (however, if you already knew before seeing this, please don’t spoil it for others). If there are no answers by Friday, I’ll post the answer myself in the comments section.

8 thoughts on “Times Square Scam Photo

  1. It looks like the people have been transposed or the background has. There are two little tiny people walking in front of the marquees, who are the right size for the marquees . And the marquees are too low for the big people. The “big” people would bump their heads on them if they were not careful. It is a fabricated scene. It is noticeable from first sight. It is a composite but I cannot figure out how it looked to you beyond the camera frame.


  2. The people are walking past a hanging canvas picture of how the block looked years ago. I am not going to say I remember the block, but…..

      • I used the word “scam” purposely as a bit of misdirection. I wanted people to be looking for Three Card Monte or the like. But the scam of course was the one pulled off by the artists of the canvas.

        I certainly remember those theaters. Senior year in high school, some friends and I cut school and went to see the Clint Eastwood marathon at the Victory movie theater. It was 8 hours, and we saw For A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and Hang ’em High.

    • You got it, Eddie. It’s a clever painting illusion. I was walking on the other side of 42nd Street and did a double take. The perspective of the canvas is really good, even in person. It took me quite a while to realize that the marquees were two-dimensional. In the photo, the clues are the height of the people compared to the marquees. Also, you can see two sets of sidewalk curbs. Where the further curb starts, that’s the bottom of the canvas.

  3. I walked by it again today, but this time right next to it, on its side of the street. A sign says that it recreates that block circa 1987. Strange thing is, on this side of the block there’s really no illusion at all. It just seems like a crude drawing on billboard poster paper, and it’s not particularly eye-catching or eye-fooling at close range.

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