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TKTS Discount Ticket Booth In Times Square Opens For Business

TDF's TKTS half price Broadway ticket stand in Times Square is opened in 2008

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Bernadette Peters and Micheal Bloomberg open the TKTS ticket booth in 2008Mixing art with function, on October 16, 2008, at the newly renovated Duffy Square, Bernadette Peters, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other various Broadway performers tossed confetti in the air for the opening of Times Square's gleaming new TKTS stand. This was the latest incarnation of the Broadway theater district's famed discount tickets booth and at the opening ceremony celebrities fawned over each other in a self-congratulatory fashion, now all too common with the liberal elite in NYC.

Bloomberg and Peters Describe The New TKTS Booth

At the opening speeches, Mayor Bloomberg quipped "Times Square is known around the globe as the greatest stage for theater, the best place to celebrate the New Year and the crossroads of the world, and these improvements will make the Times Square experience even greater," Bloomberg went on to say "I love New York Theatre and I look forward to seeing what the New TKTS booth can deliver in terms of driving people and sales to and through NYC"

As far as behavior standards at this public space are concerned, Mayor Bloomberg said, visitors will be expected to follow the conduct guidelines common to any city park, as Duffy Square is technically city parkland. Employees of the alliance, which runs the Times Square business improvement district, will clean, maintain, and guard the structure. It will be designated a no-smoking zone.
 
TKTS Ticket Booth in Times Square - Glass StepsHow The New TKTS Ticket Stand in Times Square Came To Be

The old '70s-era "temporary" TKTS half price Broadway ticket booth in Times Square was demolished in June of 2006 and was replaced with a new design that boasts a shiny red staircase as a roof, bulbous sides enshrined with glass walls and twelve ticket outside counters that are protecetd from the elements by a red roof. This construction is a modern age version of a public space that could rival Rome's Spanish Steps, albeit in 21st century style, but made out of modern materials that will fade and break down over time.

The new TKTS booth proper is topped by a sweeping cascade of 27 ruby-red structural glass steps, rising to a height of 16 feet 1 inch above the 47th Street sidewalk, where a thousand people can congregate every day until 1AM, which is when the Parks Department of New York city closes it (apologies to those hoping to save on hotel rooms).
When patrons walk to the top of this man made amphitheater in Times Square, they will usually make a bee-line for the top row, as they do not see the steps as seats but as steps to the top, clearly against the wishes of the designers. When you reach the top, you are rewarded by a panorama of Times Square: the picture-perfect photo opportunity - for tourist and locals alike - a panorama that only office dwellers and double-decker buses have been able to see previously.

TKTS Ticket Booth in Times Square - Ticket WindowsDiscount Broadway Ticket Sales At The Booth

16 feet directly below the top of the steps, TKTS patrons will find 12 ticket window. This is 20 percent more than the old Duffy Square booth, which opened in 1973 and closed in 2006. Bowing to consumer pressure, TDF (who owns and operates the TKTS stand) now allows payment for tickets with credit cards and debit cards, in addition to cash and traveler’s checks at the Times Square booth.

The waiting lines for tickets are similar to the old TKTS booth - there are are two lines approaching the booth on both sides, so it does not matter which line patrons get in. There is however a third line specifically for Broadway plays, as the TKTS booth is trying to encourage sales to them and can provide a shorter wait for these types of shows as well as a dedicated window. Patrons need to make sure that they are in the right line, there is nothing worse than getting in the play line and getting to the front and realizing that the play you were interested in is actually classified as a musical or a play with music, which is also classified as a musical.

Hundreds of tourists and New Yorkers line up daily at the various TKTS booths around NYC to buy discounted same-day tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The Times Square location is set on a traffic island at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, the new glass-enclosed booth sits under the glowing red glass staircase. Pedestrian space on the once-crowded island, known as Father Duffy Square, has also has been enlarged by 115 percent.
 
TKTS booth original design concept prototype modelBooth Construction Project Setbacks
At the official unveiling, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city picked up $11.5 million of the $19 million cost of the project, but failed to mention the true drama of this construction. The project, that was announced in 1999, was bedeviled at almost every turn with problems. Among the many problems that occurred with design and logistics, the very last problem, that threatened to derail the whole project entirely, was the sudden failure of the Scottish glass manufacturer Haran Glass who had been contracted to provide all the glass, which the is project used over 40 tons of glass.
In the end, the designers turned to Eckelt Glass of Austria, which fabricated the multi layer panels that make up the structure. The project went over budget six times and threatened to never actually be completed. With a leadership change at the TDF in 2002 and a demolished construction site at a standstill, Donald Trump, who was well known for cutting through the bureaucratic construction red tape and the common "developer excuses" often seen on New York City construction projects, had been asked to turn this project around for the city - much like what he did for the Wollman rink rehab in Central Park when a redevelopment stalled and kept it closed for years. When news of Mr Trump's involvement became known, the city of New York suddenly pumped in cash and made this project a priority, if only just to save a little face.
Trump would go on to talk about this challenge in his book The Art Of The Deal where he indicated that by just getting involved it changed the dynamic at City Hall, that looked very foolish the first time around with their failure to build the Wollman Ice Rink.
 

Ticket Booth Overhead ShotWhat This New Construction In Times Square Meant
Hundreds of tourists and New Yorkers line up daily at the various TKTS booths around NYC to buy discounted same-day tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The Times Square location is set on a traffic island at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, the new glass-enclosed booth sits under the glowing red glass staircase. Pedestrian space on the once-crowded island, known as Father Duffy Square, has also has been enlarged by 115 percent.

The Shell Manufacturer
The ticket booth itself is a fiberglass shell fabricated by Merrifield-Roberts of Bristol, R. I., which also makes boat hulls. The overall structure was designed by Nicholas S. Leahy and his colleagues at Perkins Eastman, based on a competition-winning concept by the architects John Choi and Tai Ropiha. William Fellows was the landscape architect. Dewhurst Macfarlane & Partners were the structural engineers

Duffy Square History
Duffy Square, the north end of the Times Square bow tie, is named for the Rev. Francis P. Duffy, a civic and neighborhood hero in his day, who was chaplain to the 69th New York Infantry regiment during World War I and pastor of the nearby Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church. A bronze likeness, in front of a Celtic cross, stands at the foot of the stairs. The triangular square gained extra space in the redevelopment project by annexing one lane of Broadway and one lane of Seventh Avenue.