Millions are expected to attend the Sept. 5 Times Square celebration, which kicks off the football season and is scheduled to run from 4:30 to 8 PM.
Beginning at noon, the New York City event will close 43rd to 47th Streets between Sixth and Eighth Avenues. After 2 PM, streets above 47th Street may be closed on an "as-needed basis." When asked how many people are expected in the area, New York City Mayor Bloomberg joked, "Pick a number."
In order to avoid a rush of late theatregoers, The League of American Theatres and Producers announced Aug. 19 that all Broadway shows would push back their curtain time to 8:30 PM on Sept. 5 to accommodate the crowds expected in the theatre area.
For the first time ever, Theatre Development Fund's tkts discount ticket booth in Times Square will extend its hours on Sept. 4 and allow those interested to purchase tickets for the following day's performances (Sept. 5). The Times Square tkts booth will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM and from 3 PM to 10 PM on Sept. 4. Beginning at 3 PM, tickets for both Wednesday (Sept. 4) evening and Thursday (Sept. 5) shows will be available. On Sept. 5, the booth will open at 10 AM and will operate as long as the booth remains accessible. The 8:30 PM curtain will also allow theatregoers to attend some of the NFL festivities planned for the day. League press spokesman Patricia Armetta Haubner says, "The message we're trying to get out is . . . this is a great, fun thing to do. You can go to the concert first and then go to a show afterwards. It makes a Times Square night of it."
The National Football League (NFL) will hold a special event in Times Square on Sept. 5 to mark the beginning of the 2002 football season.
"NFL Kickoff Live from Times Square" will feature performances from Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Alicia Keys, Eve and a host of other pop stars prior to the football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants (Giants Stadium). CBS will tape the event and air one hour's worth of footage on Sept. 6. VH1 plans to televise Bon Jovi's performance live on Sept. 6 from 7 to 8 PM. MTV will also televise some portions of the program during its 90 minute "TRL" show, which begins at 3:30 PM.
September will be an unusual month for the New York theatre; many shows have already canceled performances on Sept. 11 to honor those who lost their lives during last year's attacks on the World Trade Center.
The 8:30 PM curtain may inspire nostalgia in some older theatregoers. For much of the early part of the 20th century, Broadway shows commenced at 8:30 PM, rather than 8 PM. A well-known Noël Coward play goes by the title Tonight at 8:30.
—By Andrew Gans