News

Times Square Light Pole Rapper Wanted To Meet Alicia Keys

View Comments
(credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities say an aspiring rapper who climbed up a Times Square traffic light pole Tuesday said he wanted to meet Alicia Keys and promote his music.

Raymond Velasquez was being held on $1,000 bail after his arraignment Wednesday on charges including reckless endangerment. The most serious is a misdemeanor. His lawyer declined to comment.

The 34-year-old goes by C.I. Joe or Coney Island Joe. Manhattan prosecutors say he spent two hours Tuesday rapping, dancing and doing pull-ups on the 20-foot-tall pole. The antics shut down traffic in the area.

A court complaint says Velasquez told police he wouldn’t come down unless the “Empire State of Mind” singer came to see him, though he eventually descended without her. The complaint says he later explained it was “just a publicity stunt.”

Police had responded to the scene around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and closed traffic to the area.

Velasquez was taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Velasquez is the same man who shouted and gave “TODAY” Show hosts a scare back in February.

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

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View Comments