Bill Clinton, the former US president who was impeached for lying about an affair, has raised eyebrows by eulogising the Times Square of old, recalling the mix of prostitutes and colourful characters as "romantic" and "fascinating".
At the risk of reviving memories of his infamous sex scandal, Mr Clinton managed to weave his fondness for the seedy past of New York's central thoroughfare into an announcement that he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were merging their environmental initiatives.
Asked if he had any memories of the area before it was sanitised and later pedestrianised, he said: "When I was 18, in November of 1964, a freshman at Georgetown, I first went to Times Square.
"I saw a hooker approach a man in a grey flannel suit. Pretty heavy stuff for a guy from Arkansas. I still have vivid memories of it."
Despite his nostalgia for the era of pimps, pickpockets and pushers, Mr Clinton said that the contemporary Times Square, with its droves of tourists, was a better place.
"It was dangerous from the point of crime and it was unhealthy from the point of public health," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)