The Show(s) Must Go On: Broadway Continues Amid Transit Strike

News   The Show(s) Must Go On: Broadway Continues Amid Transit Strike
Broadway productions will continue to play their regular performance schedules, Alan Cohen, Director of Communications of the League of American Theatres and Producers, told Dec. 20.

“No one is altering their performance schedules during the work stoppage,” said Cohen. In fact, tickets are available for all current Broadway shows.

Jed Bernstein, President of the League, added in a statement, "Broadway has a long tradition of performing even during the most difficult circumstances, and we look forward to continuing in that tradition during this transit work stoppage. As was the case during the 1980 transit strike, 'the show will go on' and we will continue to do everything that we can to ensure that our performers and production staffs can get to work safely and on time, hopefully playing to full houses."

An announcement posted on the Telecharge website reads: "In the event of a full-system MTA strike in New York City, all events will be happening as scheduled. Most New York venues are within walking or taxi distance of Penn Station and Grand Central Station, and commuter trains into these stations will not be affected."

The website urges ticket holders to visit the Alternative Transportation Information Center at for more information.

Tickets purchased through Ticketmaster are "nonrefundable and nonexhangeable" unless shows are cancelled, according to a representative. As per their policy, "The decision of whether or not to allow refunds is made by the venue or promoter. Ticketmaster assumes no responsibility for making any such decision, and will have no responsibility to issue refunds." *

On Tuesday morning, Dec. 21, the transit workers union called a strike, thus halting all city subway and bus traffic within the five boroughs.

This is the first transit strike since 1980. Transit workers have chosen to strike in defiance of the state's Taylor Law, which bars strikes by public employees and carries penalties of two days' pay for each day on strike.

Transit talks have been going for days, and nearly resulted in a strike last Friday, Dec. 16. However, subways continued to run throughout the weekend—the last one before Christmas. On Monday, the workers at two private bus lines in Queens walked off the job.

The strike has resulted in stiff traffic guidelines for private vehicles venturing into Manhattan. Drivers hoping to reach the city via car from 5 AM to 11 AM will have to carry at least four passengers, or risk being turned back by police at city tunnels and bridges.

Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, held a news conference at 3 AM. "New Yorkers, this is a fight over whether hard work will be rewarded with a decent retirement," he said. "This is a fight over the erosion, or the eventual elimination, of health-benefits coverage for working people in New York. This is a fight over dignity and respect on the job, a concept that is very alien to the M.T.A."

MTA chairman Peter S. Kalikow said he would guarantee the public that the authority would take every step "to bring this illegal action to an end as quickly as possible," according to the New York Times.

The Times further reported that "the transit agency plans to store the majority of the 6,300 subway cars underground, one next to another, to protect them from the elements. Supervisors will run empty trains over the rails to keep them polished and prevent rust... The 4,600 buses were being returned to their 18 depots this morning, where they will be stored and guarded for the duration of the strike."

The normally jam-packed Times Square subway station at the heart of the theatre district stands empty and locked during the transit strike.
The normally jam-packed Times Square subway station at the heart of the theatre district stands empty and locked during the transit strike. Photo by David Gewirtzman
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