India Wants to Replicate the Worst Part of New York in Mumbai

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: Costumed street performers receive tips from the public after posing for pictures in Times Square on July 28, 2014 in New York City. In the latest incident involving the often aggressive characters, a man dressed as Spider-Man allegedly punched an officer in the face over the weekend following a dispute with a woman over a tip, police have said. The Times Square Alliance is now calling for strict licensing of costumed street performers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

India’s leaders are planning to bring a little piece of New York to Mumbai soon, by re-creating Times Square in a local historic district

The country’s tourism minister, Sripad Naik, hopes to make south Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda neighborhood a “hub of heritage and culture.” Because if there’s anything New Yorkers know, it’s that Times Square is exactly that. 

Plans for the artsy neighborhood include giant electronic billboards and a TKTS-style staircase-to-nowhere where visitors can lounge and mug for cameras that display their likenesses onto overhead Jumbotrons.

Fully replicating the Times Square experience, of course, requires adults in creepy costumes, and planners are hoping to have characters “from the cinemas of India and cartoons by Indian cartoonists” wandering the site. (No word on whether they will be violence-prone.)

Yet Quartz reports that the Indian government is only planning on investing $800,000 in the initial phase of this project, which raises the question of how, exactly, this will all be executed.

The best hope for stopping the plan may lie in Hindu-nationalist prime minister Narenda Modi’s visit to New York later this month. Perhaps seeing the real thing will change his mind?