Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TKTS Booth Set to Re-Open This Week

Posted by Bruce Miller
My family made it up to NYC last weekend for a fall visit to Broadway. Hannah and I saw In the Heights, South Pacific, [title of show] and The Marvelous Wonderettes. Curt and Terrie joined us for In the Heights, and saw Spring Awakening on their own. More on all that later.

While in the Big Apple, I visited the old TKTS Booth—the real one in Duffy Square that’s been closed for renovations for what seems like forever. A model of the re-design is pictured above.

Work on the remodeling seemed to be nearing completion, so I snapped these clandestine pictures, foisting my cheap trinket of a camera through rips in the black plastic and gaps in the chain link fence that has been installed to keep the new booth under wraps. I felt like Maxwell Smart, and kept waiting for my shoe phone to ring.

I asked the guys working the substitute booth located behind the Marriott Marquis when the newly remodeled old booth would reopen. The guy who seemed to know the most said, and I quote, “We’re supposed to open it for credit card sales”—yes, my friends, credit card sales—“on Tuesday and Wednesday”—that would be Oct 14 and 15—“and then transfer all operations back over there on Thursday.”

Maybe he was crazy or misinformed, but from what he said the real TKTS Booth may be re-opening tomorrow, and may begin accepting credit cards for the first time.

I don’t know how many half-price Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets I’ve purchased at the Times Square TKTS Booth since it first opened in 1973, housed in an old construction trailer. It’s certainly been in the hundreds. Some quick calculations indicate that I’ve probably saved about $14,800 and spent about 300 hours waiting in line.

I’ve loved every minute of it—well, almost every minute. And I seriously prefer the old booth in the open air of Duffy Square to the substitute booth crowded into that crossover space that's carved beneath the Marriott between 46th and 45th. I’m genuinely excited that the old booth will be re-opening soon.

It’s going to take me a while to get used to the new look. It’s very red, and looks like a huge bleacher plopped on top of the tkts booth, which appears now to be more of a lean-to than a booth. The bleacher faces downtown, and those sitting on it will have a great view of the back of the large stone cross behind the statue of Father Duffy, the beloved priest of Times Square.

I don't remember what the back of that cross looks like, and I don’t care. On my next trip up, I’ll stand in line with bells on.

Till then, I hope to see you at a theatre in Richmond!

--Bruce Miller

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