Police: Man climbs, raps atop 20-ft traffic pole in Times Square
A Brooklyn wannabe rapper trying to promote his CD climbed atop a 20-foot traffic light pole Tuesday, shutting down traffic in Times Square for nearly two hours before police coaxed him down.
Raymond Velasquez, 34, made his way up the pole at W. 44th Street and Seventh Avenue at about 9:30 a.m. The New York Post said he wanted to meet Alicia Keys, who had just performed nearby at ABC’s “Good Morning America,” before he began rapping, waving his arms and tossing CDs to the crowd below.
Police inflated a large yellow cushion in case Velasquez fell. Velasquez, who also goes by “CI Joe,” climbed down a ladder shortly after 11 a.m.
It wasn’t the first time he’s pulled a publicity stunt. According to the aspiring artist’s myspace page, he infiltrated a live recording of BET’s “106 & Park” last year.
He also hopped a metal barricade during a taping of NBC’s “Today” show last February, shouting that he was “God’s gift to music” steps from hosts Al Roker and Meredith Vieira.
Police took Velasquez to Bellevue Hospital Wednesday for a psychiatric evaluation and charged him with reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.
The name of Velasquez’ lawyer was not immediately known.