Walking through Time Square this brisk afternoon, Frozen snowman catapults his dingy felt costume at me. In a squeaky, taunting voice, he/she/it demands a picture. This attack was followed closely by a crazy red fur giant that was supposed to resemble Elmo. Waving both his matted, fur-covered arms at me and bobbing his head back and forth, I felt like I was in a nightmare from some comedy sit-com. Even more disturbing were the reluctant characters- maybe in training? Head half on and half off, the illusion of fantasy totally shattered. Behind them were the gilded and greened Statue of Liberty’s vying for my money and attention…mostly money. Every one of these costumed workers seemed to be covered with a thin veil of grime. I hope they are able to earn what they need. Characters that should make me smile just made me sad.