Have some time before seeing your show? We’ve got you covered.
It’s called the Crossroads of the World, because some 360,000 people walk through the heart of it every single day — about 42 million visitors a year, the world’s most visited tourist attraction. It’s called the Great White Way, because of the huge illuminated signs that have served as its signature ever since Broadway was one of the first streets to be electrified more than a century ago, now supplemented by Big Brother–size video screens. If Craig Dykers has his way, Times Square will be called The Lobby of the Theatre District.
Dykers is cofounder of Snohetta, the architecture firm hired by the city to lead the five-year reconstruction project of Times Square’s pedestrian plazas, due to be completed in 2015. It is the latest transformation of an area of midtown Manhattan — roughly bounded by 40th Street to the south and 53rd Street in the north, between 6th and 9th Avenues — that seems to reinvent itself every couple of decades. It was Longacre Square until 110 years ago, when it was renamed for the New York Times newspaper, which built its headquarters smack dab in the middle of 42nd Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway. The newspaper sponsored a New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31, 1907, with a ball on the roof of its building dropping slowly to the ground at the stroke of midnight. That celebration continues annually, even though the Times left that location way back in 1913.
As it has evolved over the past century, Times Square has been viewed as everything from seedy to saccharine, from the Devil’s Playground to a Disneyland for Adults. But in one way Times Square doesn’t change. “Many people, like me, fall in love with New York in Times Square,” says Kevin James Doyle.
The first steps Doyle took in New York City were in Times Square at 4 in the morning. He was on a school trip to the city with 64 high school classmates and the bus deposited them there in the middle of the night. They ate at an all-night eatery. They eyed the dazzling signs. They watched the sun rise. A dozen years later, Doyle is in Times Square all the time, as the coauthor and costar with Margaret Copeland of How 2 B A New Yorker, a comedy revue that plays every weekend at the Planet Hollywood located in Times Square. As someone whose first job in New York City was wearing an advertising sign in Times Square, and who later gave walking tours of the Theatre District, Doyle quickly learned how much there is to do in the neighborhood. His personal favorites: Times Square bars catering to locals like Jimmy’s Corner, The Mean Fiddler, and The Rum House in the Edison Hotel, as well as, for an amazing view, the rooftop bar at the Times Square Hyatt; stores like Midtown Comics, the largest comic book store in the United States; and places to people-watch like Bryant Park, just a few blocks away.
But even a (now) real New Yorker like Kevin Doyle can’t keep up with everything there is to do in Times Square. There is something new all the time.
The skyscrapers and signage of Times Square compete for attention with more ground-level signs of the times: people who don costumes in order to make money posing for photographs. The Naked Cowboy (a man wearing a cowboy hat and underpants, playing the guitar) and the many Elmos have been joined by a range of superheroes, from Captain America to Iron Man. Others hand out flyers for current Broadway shows. Street portrait painters line the sidewalk, eager to sketch a caricature of you.
It can be an overwhelming, even an intimidating experience, to join the crowd.
But in the past few years, the Times Square redesign has made it more pedestrian-friendly. Father Duffy Square is the best place to people-watch. An odd-shaped island between 45th and 47th Streets, it is home to the TKTS discount ticket booth, which has been around for four decades. But a recent renovation added a roof of huge red steps meant for sitting and viewing the street from on high. Broadway along the side of Father Duffy Square is now also permanently shut to traffic, and in good weather, café tables and chairs are set out for your viewing pleasure. And, if you want to send an e-mail about what you’re seeing, there’s even free Wi-Fi.
Ever since that first ball-lowering in 1907, Times Square has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve, which is why millions of people gather each year to celebrate it. But New Year’s Eve is not the only mass outdoor celebration that takes place annually. Here are a few of the free events coming up this year:
Stars in the Alley, 11a.m.–12:30 p.m. May 21, rain or shine: A free outdoor concert in Shubert Alley (between 44th and 45th Streets and Broadway and 8th Avenue) featuring performances and appearances by the cast of some two dozen current Broadway shows, with host Norm Lewis, the new Phantom of the Opera.
Tony Awards Viewing Party, June 8: On the night of the 68th annual Tony Awards, as in previous years, there will be big screens and seats set up in Times Square to watch the show on CBS. The show itself will be taking place live at Radio City Music Hall, just a few blocks away.
Solstice in Times Square: Mind Over Madness, June 21: A daylong celebration of the first day of summer with a series of yoga classes, right on the street. (Photo by Derek Goodwin.)
The Ride, a 75-minute tour through midtown Manhattan on a specially constructed sightseeing bus, was nominated last year for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. Why? Along the route, the passengers are treated to brief performances by a range of performers on the sidewalk outside — from Broadway belters to rappers, from ballet dancers to tap-dancers — each introduced as if they were accidentally passing by.
Walking tours of the Theatre District, such as Broadway Up Close, are an excellent way to learn the secrets of the Rialto. Three times daily, Walkin’ Broadway combines a guided tour with an audio tour, full of music from Broadway cast recordings and stories told directly by producers, actors, directors, designers, and theatre owners. On June 6, the Municipal Art Society has scheduled a special nighttime tour of Times Square’s lighted signs.
Times Square offers a chance to pose with hundreds of celebrities — outside Broadway stage doors, yes, but also at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, with rooms dedicated to sports, Hollywood, Bollywood, history, and New York City. It’s on 42nd Street west of Broadway, on the same block as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and two blocks south of Discovery Times Square, which bills itself as “more than a museum” and currently features the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of art made with Legos.
Spotlight on Broadway is an in-ground map made of steel and granite that shows the names and locations of all 40 official Broadway theatres, between 47th and 48th Streets.
You needn’t actually buy anything to have a good time in some of the hundreds of stores in the area. On 48th Street and Broadway, Hershey’s Chocolate World dispenses sweets right across the street from M&M’s World — a planetary collision of confection!
There are several stores that are specifically for theatre lovers. For the first time this year, the Tony Awards Pop-Up Shop, located in the Paramount Hotel (235 West 46th Street), offers merchandise from each Tony-eligible show. It is open until the day of the Tony ceremony, June 8. The Drama Book Shop (250 West 40th Street), which has been around since 1917, is a place for theater professionals and people who dream of being so. There are regular events and book signings with well-known playwrights and other theater artists: SITI Company artistic director Anne Bogart will be there on May 22, playwright Adam Rapp on June 12, and costume designer Ann Roth on June 26.
There are more than 100 restaurants in Times Square. (You can make reservations for many of them on Open Table.) Restaurant Row alone has about 30, packed into a single block on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, with a wide range of prices and cuisines. This includes Joe Allen, with its famous Flop Wall — all the theater posters hanging on the wall of this eatery are for shows that were bombs on Broadway. Two blocks away, Sardi’s puts caricatures of Broadway theater people on its walls.
There is yet another terrific activity that Times Square offers, Kevin Doyle says: “This is where New Yorkers and tourists alike go to see the best theater in the world.”
Top photo by David Katzenstein.
Information We Collect
Information we collect directly from you: Your provision of your personal information to Us is completely voluntary; it is not a statutory or contractual requirement. Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) is information that is uniquely identifiable to you, such as your name, address, email address, phone number, credit card number and other personal information that is not otherwise publicly available. Certain features of Our website may require that you provide Us with your personal information, including:
Mobile Alert Sign-Up (SMS)
Contact Us (email)
Public forums (e.g. message boards)
E-commerce (ticket purchases)
Your use of any of the features above;
New content on Our website;
News that We think may interest you about Us;
Responses to your questions/comments to us; and
Information relating to a ticket purchase.
We may use your demographic information for in house statistics, advertising and marketing target information. Our processing of your personal information is necessary for the performance and fulfillment of the contract between us and to provide you with Our services. We will also process, transfer, disclose and preserve personal information when We have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary, to resolve disputes, enforce our agreements and otherwise required by law. You can always opt-out of receiving future promotional communications from Us; see the Choice/Opt-out section below.Information We Collect Automatically: Even if you don’t use any of the features above, when you visit Our website, We may collect certain information about you.
From your Browser. For example, Our servers keep an activity log that tracks all visitors to the website. The information in the activity log does not identify you individually. The information collected may include among other data: your IP address, your registered domain or home server, time of access, date of access, web page(s) visited, number of clicks, software crash reports, type of browser used, session identification number, search terms, search results, access times and referring website’s address. We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with Our server and to administer Our website. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information, such as country of origin and geographic location. We use such data in the aggregate to run internal analyses to improve upon your experience on Our website.
Tracking Tags (also known as “web beacons,” “action tags” or “single-pixel gifs”). Our website may also use tracking tags. Tracking tags are invisible graphics embedded in the pages of Our website that are programmed to collect non-personal information about your use of Our website. Like cookies, tracking tags provide overall usage patterns for Our website that We use for analysis and to provide personalized services and advertising content.
We comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising set forth by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You can opt-out of targeted advertising from certain providers at www.aboutads.info/consumers.
How We Use Your Personal Information
The personal information We collect allows Us to keep you posted on updates to Broadway Direct. It also helps Us to improve Our services, content, and advertising. If you don’t want to be on Our email list, you can opt out anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” button or sending an unsubscribe email to [email protected]. From time to time, We may use your personal information to send transactional emails, such as communications about purchases and changes to Our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Broadway Direct, you may not opt out of receiving these communications. We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Broadway Direct’s services, and customer communications. If you enter into a sweepstakes, contest, or similar promotion We may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
Information Collected By/Shared With Third Parties
Third Parties Doing Work for Us. Third parties have no rights to use any data We have collected on your behalf. However, We may employ other companies or individuals to perform functions on Our behalf, such as sending postal mail, email, and text messages, conducting sweepstakes/contests, prize fulfillment and promotional activities, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments and providing customer service. These outside suppliers, agents and vendors have access to your personal information only as needed to perform their functions.
Third Parties with Links from Our Website. From our website, you may be able to click on links to third party sites to buy tickets and merchandise and for other purposes. These third party sites may collect information, including personal information. We are not responsible for, nor do we have access to the information they collect. The collection of this information is governed by the privacy policies on the applicable third party sites.
Social Networking Services. Our website may integrate with social networking services. We do not control such services and are not liable for the manner in which they operate. While we may provide you with the ability to use such services in connection with our website, we are doing so merely as an accommodation and, like you, are relying upon those third party services to operate properly and fairly.
When necessary. We may also release personal information when we believe, in good faith, that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Ourselves, Our clients, Our users, or others. We may disclose personal information about you to law enforcement, other government officials, or other third parties, as We, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringement, or other activity that is illegal or may expose Us to legal liability.
Transactions With Third Party E-commerce Partners, Vendors and Advertisers
Delivery of Advertising and Other Content
In addition to ads and content that We may serve you directly, We use third-party advertising companies and marketing services companies to serve ads and other content when you visit Broadway Direct and elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both We and these companies may use information about your visits to Broadway Direct and elsewhere to serve ads and other content to you. In the course of doing so, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser by such companies. In addition, We and these companies may use Web beacons to help manage Our online advertising and content. These Web beacons enable Us and the third-party companies to recognize a browser’s cookie when a browser visits this Site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website and to serve you ads that you may find of interest elsewhere on the internet and in other media. Both Broadway Direct and these companies may use information obtained from your visits to Broadway Direct or other websites, and information received from you offline in order to provide advertisements about goods and services and other content of interest to you across the internet and in other media. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used in this manner by Our third party advertising companies, please visit http://www.networkadvertising.org/optout_nonppii.asp and/or www.aboutads.info/choices. European users may opt out of receiving targeted advertising by visiting http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/. In addition, we may provide PII and Anonymous Information to marketing services companies. This may include information we received from you offline or online. These companies may combine information we provide (including PII and Anonymous Information) with personal and anonymous information they may have about you, using cookies they place or that We place on their behalf, as described in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. We require these companies to delete the PII we provide them. These companies may use the resulting non-personal information and such cookies for their own marketing purposes, and they may provide the same to their customers for their customer’s marketing purposes. Some of Our emails may contain tags that allow Us and Our advertisers and other partners to determine the types of content that may be of interest to you. Those tags may contain PII and may be shared with others to the same extent indicated in the section regarding “Cookies and Tracking Tags”. Those tags may not be deleted but you can opt out of receiving the emails.
Use of This Site by Children
The Site is not directed to individuals under the age of thirteen (13), and We request that such individuals do not provide personal information through the Site. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided Us with PII without the parent or guardian’s consent by, for example, misrepresenting his or her age, that parent or guardian should contact us at [email protected]. If Broadway Direct determines that it has collected personal information of children under the age of 13, Broadway Direct will immediately delete such information and any accounts believed to be held by children under 13. In addition, we may not collect or process information from a citizen of an EU member state under the age of sixteen (16) without such person’s parental consent. If you are a citizen of an EU member state under the age of 16, please tell your parents that you are using the Site and have your parents email Us at [email protected] so that We may delete any information We may have collected about you.
California Civil Code § 1798.83 permits California residents to request information about whether we have disclosed personal information to any third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. California residents have the right to request in writing: (a) a list of the categories of Personal Information, such as name, email address and mailing address and the type of services provided to the customer that a business has disclosed to third parties (including affiliates that are separate legal entities) during the immediately preceding calendar year for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes and (b) the names and addresses of all such third parties. To make a request, please contact Us at the following email address: [email protected].
Rights of EU Data Subjects
If you are a resident of the European Union, under the GDPR, European Union residents, as data subjects, have the following rights:
Right to access – This right allows individuals to obtain confirmation as to whether or not personal information concerning him or her is being processed and provide access to such personal information. It also allows individuals to request details of the processing of his or her personal information, including, without limitation, categories of recipients to whom the personal information have been or will be disclosed and purposes of processing.
Right to rectify – This right allows individuals to rectify any inaccurate personal information about him or her.
Right to restrict processing – This right allows individuals to block or suppress processing of personal data under certain circumstances.
Right to be forgotten – This right is also known as the “right to erasure”. It is an individual’s right to have personal data erased or to prevent processing in specific circumstances.
Right of data portability – This right allows individuals to move, copy or transfer personal data from one place to another in a secure manner without interrupting the integrity and usability of the information.
Right to object to processing – This right allows individuals to object to certain types of processing, including direct marketing, profiling and providing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.
An EU resident has the right to access his or her personal data that We hold and to ask that their personal data be corrected or erased and to port their data. An EU resident may also have the right to object to, or request that We restrict certain processing or to withdraw consent previously provided. If you would like to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please contact us at [email protected]. If you are an EU resident and have a concern about our processing of your personal data that we are not able to resolve, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Authority where you reside. For contact details of your relevant local Data Protection Authority, please see http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/article29/item-detail.cfm?item_id=612080
Security of Your Personal Information
Broadway Direct employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for personal information collected through this Site, including physical, electronic and operational measures to maintain security and prevent unauthorized access. While Broadway Direct takes all appropriate steps to safeguard personal information under Our control, unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or method of storing data can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As such, We cannot guarantee that personal information supplied by users will not be accessed on Our servers, or intercepted while being transmitted to Us over the Internet. We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of interception, alteration or misuse of information during such transfers.
We will retain your information for as long as your account or inquiry is active and for a reasonable time thereafter in accordance with Our standard procedures or as necessary to comply with Our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce Our agreements. Even if We delete some or all of your Personal Information, We may continue to retain and use aggregate or anonymous data previously collected and/or anonymize or aggregate your Personal Information. Please note that We will not be liable for disclosures of your data due to errors or unauthorized acts of third parties.
This Site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from Us, at any time, by email at [email protected], or by clicking the unsubscribe link in any email communication. The Site gives users the following options for removing their information from our database, to not receive future communications or to no longer receive our service, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715.
Users can opt-out of receiving future newsletter emails from Us by selecting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of our email. However, We are not responsible for removing your information from the lists of any third party who has previously been provided with your information or is collecting your information through their cookies. You have the right to withdraw your consent for Our processing for your personal information by contacting us at [email protected].
This website gives users the following options for changing and modifying information previously provided, at any time.
Users can send mail to the following postal address: Broadway Direct 1501 Broadway 14th floor New York, NY 10036
Users can call the following telephone number: (800) 223-6715
In the event that We are, or any component of our operations is, merged with, or is acquired by, another entity, then any such successor or acquiring entity may become the successor to Our obligations with respect to the personal information that you have provided to Us, which would be necessary for the entity to effectively continue our business. By using this website, you consent to any transfer and use of such personal information by an entity assuming control of Our operations as a result of a merger, purchase of assets, or liquidation in bankruptcy or insolvency.