A watched clock never moves – unless it's the National Debt Clock.
In fact, the digital counter has been moving so much that it recently ran out of digits to display the ballooning figure: $10,150,603,734,720, or roughly $10.2 trillion, as of last Saturday afternoon.
The clock was put up by the late real estate mogul Seymour Durst in 1989 when the U.S. government's debt was a mere $2.7 trillion.
It will be replaced in 2009 with a new clock, said Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the Durst Organization.
The current clock had enough digits to measure the money owed until debt recently hit $10 trillion. Since then, more eyes have been on the fixture near Times Square.
When Nancy Gurzo spotted the sign one recent afternoon, she came to a halt. Standing in the middle of the sidewalk, Gurzo pointed up at the sign.
“It's a shame,” the 60-year-old Manasquan, N.J., restaurant manager said, anger and disbelief in her face. “It's an absolute outrage. It may be the end of the United States as we know it today.”
That afternoon, others glanced at the clock, some of their faces wrinkling with confusion. But most pedestrians seemed not to even notice the clock, which is tucked several stories high on the side of a brick building. The counter, on West 44th Street near Sixth Avenue on a shaded block of Broadway theaters, restaurants, and high-end retailers, isn't the most striking sight.
Below the amount of the national debt on the clock is another row of figures: “YOUR Family share.” As of Saturday afternoon, the $86,023 fit properly into the LCD squares.