With the revitalized Times Square now almost unrecognizable when compared to the sleazy, dangerous-looking place it was only a decade ago, more and more tourists are enjoying New York -- and New York theatre. To cater to this influx, the Times Square Business Improvement District (BID) signed a lease on the Embassy movie theatre on Broadway at 46th Street (near the Roundabout Theatre), turning it into the new home of the Times Square Visitors Center.
The building was expected to be ready by springtime but is now projected for late August, according to the Times Square Business Improvement District's website. The previous Center, on 42nd Street, was housed in a building that collapsed Dec. 30, 1997.
Patrons will be able to buy full-price theatre tickets at the $1 million venue, as well as get sightseeing information, take bus tours, get multilingual tourism information, use six automated tellers and internet stations, and buy international newspapers, thanks to a deal with Newmark & Company.
Designed to comply with the venue's landmark status, the building's renovations are being done by F. J. Sciame Construction Company. The original Embassy was built in 1925 and used as an MGM movie theatre. In the change-over to this landmarked (1987) venue, the seats will be removed and a new, patterned floor will be put in.
BID notes that 20 million tourists are expected to hit New York this year, spending more than $3.5 billion. The 5,000 square foot Center will also offer one-stop shopping with such licensees as Fleet Bank, the MTA, Panasonic and Yahoo. BID President Gretchen Dykstra said of the Center, "It will be open all day, every day...the perfect example of building the new Times Square on the roots of the old."
-- By David Lefkowitz