It may not have been as raucous as when the Beatles played "The Ed Sullivan Show," but Paul McCartney's surprise concert Thursday in Times Square was big enough to bring the spot to a standstill.
The 71-year-old rock and roll icon sent fans flocking to midtown after he posted on Twitter at 11:54 a.m. that he would head there in an hour for a quick gig.
"Wow! Really excited to be playing New York Times Square at 1pm this afternoon!" he tweeted. And then added, "Come on down to Times Square. . . . It's all going to be happening there!"
Despite the short notice, thousands of fans who saw the tweet, and many more who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, cheered McCartney as he performed four songs from his latest album, "New." He didn't have time to sing any of his classic hits.
McCartney performed from a trailer parked on West 46th Street.
About a half-hour before the impromptu 1 p.m. show, crowds were still trickling in, but that escalated quickly and the fans eventually stretched as far north as West 51st Street.
Ed Nash, 50, of Newfoundland, Canada, was visiting the city with his wife and daughter, and just happened to stumble upon the stage when they were sightseeing.
"I went and asked a cop what was going on and he whispered 'Paul McCartney is playing,' " said Nash, who was celebrating his birthday. "My wife says she arranged it," he joked.
Paul Haberman, 28, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, arrived at Times Square after a friend called and told him about the concert. He was amazed that he was able to get so close to the stage.
"I never would've thought I would see him like this," Haberman said.
Bob Gannon, 48, a New Jersey police officer who said he has gone to more than 100 McCartney concerts since 1990, said he really wanted to hear the legend's latest songs in person. "It's not easy to find a songwriter whose every song resonates with you personally," he said.
With Tim Herrera