You weren't dreaming if you thought Times Square was more crowded than usual this holiday season. Tourism was up throughout New York City and few areas of Manhattan felt the impact as keenly as the appropriately- titled Crossroads of the World.
The League of American Theatres and Producers announced that the two week period ending Jan. 3, 1999 were the most profitable weeks in Broadway history. Thirty Broadway shows packed in 532,391 theatregoers and raked in a total of $31.4 million. The box office number represents a 3 percent boost over the same period last year.
The League predicts the 1998-99 season to be a record breaker, with 12 million people taking in Broadway shows.
Gotham tourism levels broke records in 1998. According to the New York City Convention and Visitors Bureau, 34 million tourists poured through the city during the year.
In a separate study, the Times Square Business Improvement District (BID) has found that, any given moment this past summer, 70 percent of the folks tromping around Times Square were visitors, either from foreign countries (22 percent) or from beyond the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (29 percent). A minority of 11 percent of the Times Square crowds lived in Manhattan and only 22 percent worked in the area. According to the New York Times, the BID's response to the figures will be -- what else? -- more advertising.
-- By Robert Simonson