Aspiring rapper atop pole in Times Square charged

June 29, 2011 3:29:08 PM PDT
A aspiring rapper climbed a traffic signal pole in the heart of Times Square, stopping traffic as passersby gathered to watch the scene.

The man was identified as 34-year-old Raymond Velasquez, of Brooklyn. Wearing a red shirt and a hat, he climbed to the top of the traffic signal at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 44th Street around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Velasquez stood on the top of the traffic pole, about 20 feet in the air, waving his hands and rapping to the crowd at times.

Police closed local streets to traffic as hundreds of sightseers flocked to the area.

There was a heavy police presence, including officers on top of an NYPD emergency service vehicle talking to Velasquez, urging him to get down. An inflatable fire balloon was put in place under the pole, in case Velasquez fell or jumped.

He eventually climbed down a ladder to the top of the police vehicle around 11:15 a.m. He was put in handcuffs and taken into police custody.

Police say it appears Velasquez climbed onto the light pole to promote his CDs.

He was transported to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.

He was later charged with reckless endangerment, trespassing, and disorderly condut.

During his arraignment on Wednesday, the judge set bail at $1,000 cash, and his next court date is July 13.