Velasquez Same Man Who Gave 'TODAY' Hosts Scare In FebruaryBy Alex Silverman

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police shut down traffic to an area of Times Square after a man climbed on top of a 20-foot tall traffic pole Tuesday.

Raymond Velasquez, 34, of Brooklyn, could be seen standing atop the pole at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and 44th Street waving to onlookers and then sitting down swinging his feet nonchalantly off the post.

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Velasquez — dressed in a red polo shirt, khakis and a baseball cap — came down from the pole using a police ladder around 11:15 .a.m at his own will and was promptly placed in handcuffs.

Police had responded to the scene around 9:30 a.m. and closed traffic to the area. An inflatable cushion was placed underneath the pole for fear Velasquez would jump.

Velasquez has been taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Velasquez is the same man who shouted and gave “TODAY” Show hosts a scare in February, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

On Feb. 22, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Willie Geist were at Rockefeller Center when a man crossed the barricade and approached the trio while yelling loudly. A clearly alarmed Vieira was heard on camera shouting “Jesus,” while others said to “get out the way.” “We’re certainly awake now,” Vieira joked in the studio later.

Velasquez said “I’ve got God’s gift to music,” recounted Roker. Velasquez was arrested following the “TODAY” incident.

During today’s Times Square incident, some amused onlookers cheered on Velasquez and others posted photos on Twitter and said that he was “rapping” and “threatening to jump.”

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However, some were not pleased with the spectacle.

“I think he was a moron, he went up there to make a show, he just cost New York City so much money, it’s ridiculous, now he’s going to go to the right place right now,” one man told CBS 2’s Jay Dow.

“I think it’s interesting, kind of waste of government resources and time,” one woman said.

“I was entertained at first but then it got boring,” another man said.

Police said Velasquez, an aspiring rapper, wanted to promote his CD.

Do you think the police response was appropriate in this case? Sound off in our comments section below…

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