This is the street that drove America forward – the path of progress as it expanded, powered by showmanship and illusion

A clutch of bedraggled fancy dress characters lie in wait for visitors to Times Square on a late weekday morning, hustling for tourist dollars in return for a souvenir picture.

Superheroes and Muppets compete with a collective of Disney mice, a topless woman wearing a red, white and blue feathered headdress, and her slightly more modestly-dressed friend, who has added a patriotic bra and the letters N and Y in white greasepaint on her butt.

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Read More Broadway: the 13-mile street that charts the delirious story of America

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