Armed Forces Recruiting in Times Square

Only in New York

Costumed characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Super Mario and Elmo greet tourists in front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square

By Lt. j.g. Doug Johnson

NEW YORK -- "A guy weighing approximately 280 pounds walked in right here with a loaded gun once," stated Marine Corps Recruiter Staff Sgt. Marco Cordero. "He sat down and wouldn't leave," stated Cordero. "He saved pronouncing he was 'the real 50 Cent,' and that he needed to lay low from the cops for some time." So, one of the recruiters from the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square, N.Y., nonchalantly walked out of the recruiting station and throughout the road to the police station. As the cops surrounded the station and arrested the gun-brandishing vacationer, Cordero couldn't assist but suppose to himself, "...handiest in New York."

Located within the heart of New York City, the Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Station by no means honestly has a "normal" day. Its place and notoriety make it one of the most interesting responsibility assignments inside the Marine Corps.

Times Square itself is formed via the angle of Broadway intersecting seventh Avenue among West 42nd and 47th Streets, even though the call also applies to the general surrounding place. The station sits on a small traffic island between Broadway and 7th Ave., and it has the excellent view of the chaos it really is synonymous with Times Square.

"There is not a better area to work," stated Brooklyn local Gunnery Sgt. Alexander Kitsakos. Kitsakos is a double Centurion (greater than 200 enlistees), and he labored on Extended Active Duty as a recruiter in Times Square from 1995 to 1997. "It's the crossroads of the arena and the most famous recruiting station in the country."

Marines have represented the Corps in Times Square for the reason that building opened in 1946. The Corps is careful with who they supply that responsibility to. "The kind of individual we put in Times Square must be advantageous," said Sgt. Maj. Fenton Reese, Recruiting Station New York. "You ought to have one truely high quality mind-set and a excellent image."

"Image is everything," said Reese. "Recruiters appearance accurate anyway -but [for Times Square] we want a razor-sharp Marine who can also address the general public," he stated. "There are humans there of all races and nationalities, and it's very fast-paced. We need a Marine who can relate to they all."

Cordero has represented the Corps for 2 years. With 1st Marine Corps District's "Recruiter of the Year" title under his belt, he is accomplished his proportion of pertaining to. "You have to cope with lots of human beings here, with a lot of extraordinary personalities and backgrounds," stated Cordero. "I've learned a way to cope with they all."

The range comes from the reality that not all of the applicants are from the immediately surrounding area. "The contracts [from Times Square] come from all over," said Staff Sgt. Amanda Hay, RS New York Marketing and Public Affairs Representative. "There's best been more than one contracts from Times Square that were honestly from midtown Manhattan."

Brooklyn native Pavel Sanchez is one of the many candidates from every other borough who traveled to Times Square. "My pal advised me approximately the I decided to come out right here," he said. Sanchez enlisted inside the Delayed Entry Program in January, and he leaves for boot camp in March.

The Marine Corps isn't the only recruiting presence inside the square. The 520-square-toes station is also domestic to a recruiter from the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Each recruiter has one cubicle, which, in conjunction with a small rest room inside the lower back of the station, is set all of the station has room for. The station, which the recruiters call "the sales space," changed into renovated in 1998 and rededicated in 1999. For greater than fifty years before the rededication, the recruiters did not even have a rest room.

"You needed to make friends in no time on the way to use the toilet," stated Kitsakos, who left just before the renovation. He and the opposite recruiters made buddies at a nearby theater and they would walk down the block to apply the restroom there. But, a few things never changed. "The recruiters [from all of the services] simply worked together," he stated. "If one of the recruiters had an applicant are available for something, every other recruiter could assist out if the applicant's recruiter wasn't there."

Seven years after Kitsakos labored at the station, Cordero stated the teamwork between the services continues to be the spotlight of operating there. "What makes this amusing is that we all get along," stated the Washington Heights, N.Y., native. "If I'm no longer right here and a person walks in to discover more about the Marines, then whoever is here will sit down and talk to him about the Marines."

"We're all in one room right here, and we work with every other every day," stated Army Staff Sgt. Dennis Kelly. "So it's clean to simply work together."

Both recognise that the identical teamwork may not follow at different recruiting stations, however it really works properly for them. All 4 of the recruiters within the small Times Square station earned "Recruiter of the Year" titles.

Working in a station that is so widely known has its united states of americaand downs. "The visibility the recruiters get from the public is each exact and awful," said Hay. Famous track artists, models and actors visit the station unannounced. "Even P. Diddy became right here striking out with us in the front of the station in the future," stated Kelly.

Other site visitors are less welcome. Anti-struggle protesters have centered the station within the past. "The protesters do not in reality affect the is simply enterprise as traditional," stated Hay.

Actually, protests offer an opportunity for the recruiters to show off how nicely they relate to exceptional human beings. During one protest, "human beings handcuffed themselves to the flag pole," said Cordero. "So, once they have been handcuffed, I went out and surpassed my commercial enterprise card out to their free palms."

According to RS New York operational data, the RS reduced in size extra than 1,three hundred candidates remaining monetary 12 months. "A extensive portion [of those contracts] come from Manhattan," stated Reese. "We couldn't maintain our challenge without Manhattan."

The location of the station blended with difficult paintings presents the ones numbers. "There's continually a number of visitors there," said Kitsakos. "Combining the stroll-ins with lots of appropriate, old-fashioned, region canvassing could make a recruiter competitively a hit."

The identical factors which could make a day a hit additionally create an severe atmosphere. "It's like Wall Street in right here occasionally," stated Cordero. "There's a lot to deal with in such little time."

For Marines willing to handle the pressure of recruiting in Times Square, Hay said the venture is worth it. "The recruiters get lots of VIP fame and visits from famous humans. I might say Times Square is the maximum thrilling vicinity to be as a Marine."