In order to make way for the construction of a new booth, Theatre Development Fund moved its operation to the Marriott Marquis Hotel May 1. The new booth in Duffy Square (at 47th Street) will open in fall 2006.
The popular spot serves hundreds of thousands of theatregoers seeking affordable same-day-of-performance tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, and music and dance events. The booth has been a Times Square fixture for 32 years.
On May 1 and after, signage will guide patrons to the new site, steps away from the once and future location. (April 30 was the final day of business in the old trailer that served as TKTS' 47th Street home.)
The TKTS booth is now "in the kiosk mid-block on the ground level of the Marriott Marquis."
The location is better known as the "breezeway" at street level under the Marquis, a convenient pass-through often used by theatregoers and pedestrians who want to slip from 46th to 45th Street. (There is a Starbucks at the 45th end of the passageway.) Along one wall of the walkway is a massive metallic mural showing photographic images from Broadway productions. Starting May 1, the schedule for TKTS at the Marriott will be the same as it was at Duffy Square. Beyond the location change, patrons will not notice much difference in the operation, though there will be two additional windows, "so the lines should move along more quickly," according to a statement sent to theatre industry people by Theatre Development Fund's executive director Tory Bailey and managing director Roni Claypool.
The TKTS booth is one of many programs run by the not-for-profit TDF.
The goal, according to TDF, was "finding a space…that would provide for the least disruption in service to our customers." The Marquis is only steps away from the longstanding Duffy Square trailer that has provided tickets for three decades.
"The proximity of the temporary site to the permanent site means that with adequate signage we should be able to redirect customers easily," according to the TDF letter to industry members. "There is a great deal of space for the lines and we will be able to increase windows to move them quickly."
The Duffy Square/TKTS booth renovation and construction project will begin in May.
"The new booth design has been integrated into a design for a renovated Duffy Square," according to TDF. "The renovated Square will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood — it will be significantly enlarged and will provide much needed pedestrian space in Times Square."
Don't expect flyers to be handed out at the Marquis location. At Duffy Square, part of the experience of waiting in lines was being offered menus, brochures and coupons.
"The only procedural change is that Marriott policy prohibits the distribution of flyers or other materials which could end up as litter on the line," according to TDF. "The Marriott is understandably concerned about a proliferation of litter on the hotel property and thus we cannot allow flyering. Unlike Duffy Square, the Marriott is private property and we will comply with their requirements."
However, individuals "may still provide verbal information to ticket buyers on the line." In order to prohibit unauthorized people from banging the drum for shows, marketing spokespeople on site will be registered with TDF.
TDF's South Street Seaport TKTS Booth (at the corner of Front and John Streets downtown) remains open.
The renovation of the TKTS booth was first contemplated in 1999 when TDF sponsored an international design competition administered by the Van Alen Institute.
The winning design by two young Australian architects Choi and Ropiha was transformed from vision to implementation by the firm of Perkins Eastman in New York.
The new construction will feature red steps over the new booth, "which will provide a space for people to sit and watch Times Square."
Come fall, the new booth will provide two additional windows, and have "a fully accessible window for people with disabilities and will allow for increased efficiency internally."
For more information about the TKTS booth and the programs of the Theatre Development Fund, visit www.tdf.org.