NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The “Naked Cowboy” had some competition Thursday morning in Times Square – and the competition was naked for real.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, traffic was stopped Thursday morning as police talked down a dancing naked man who had made his way to the top of the TKTS booth.
Police said they received a call around 7:40 a.m. Thursday for an emotionally disturbed person. When they arrived, officers found the naked man putting on quite the show for hundreds of tourists and commuters.
Police identified the man as Krit McClean, 21.
McClean’s social media pages identify him as a model with Ford Models, a graduate from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, and a student at Columbia University who is now taking a gap year.
The naked man was seen jumping, pointing, dancing, singing and spitting. He was atop the TKTS booth for nearly an hour as helicopters hovered overhead, and the NYPD Emergency Services and Hostage Negotiation teams tried to talk him down.
Police said he was extremely combative. He was yelling “I am Mother Earth,” and asking about Donald Trump, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“My first thought was, why didn’t they just grab him?” said witness Ken Scott. “But then, needed to realize that he was threatening to jump.”
Finally, the man did indeed jump off the ledge of the discount tickets booth at 47th Street and Broadway, just missing the air bag that had been set up for him. It was the equivalent of a three-story fall.
“He jumped into the area where it was not covered purposely, from what we can see right now, so this man intended to hurt himself,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.
After the man hit the sidewalk, it took another 15 minutes and at least six paramedics to hold him down and strap him to the gurney.
“He ended up jumping three stories,” Boyce said. “He broke his arm; was removed to Bellevue.”
“I’ve lived in New York all my life — it’s a long time,” said witness Tom Engle. “I’ve seen crazy things, but not a naked man walking around and then jumping in the middle of the ticket booth, no.”
“I’ve been here for 15 years doing this on the same corner — never seen such a thing,” said witness Alpha Balde.
“I’m just feeling very sorry for him, because he’s obviously on drugs or having a psychotic episode,” said witness Emily Chantilor.
In a recent posting on Facebook, McClean talked about “personally an exciting week ahead, but let’s ride the beam together.” It was not clear what he meant by the remark.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke with McClean’s friends and neighbors on Roosevelt Island, where his parents live. They said they were shocked by behavior they consider very out of character.
“We just grew up on the island together,” said McClean’s friend, Tash. “He is a good dude. He is a good dude.”
“I worry about the parents because they’re friends, you know, and of course, I want their son to be OK,” said family friend Johan Marfey.
Late Thursday, there had been no charges against McClean, but he is expected to face indecent exposure charges once he is released from Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was undergoing medical treatment and a psychiatric evaluation.
It is unclear if drugs were involved in the incident. Police late Thursday were looking at his past history.