Reconstruction of Duffy Square, Home of TKTS Booth, Hopes to Begin in Winter 2005

News   Reconstruction of Duffy Square, Home of TKTS Booth, Hopes to Begin in Winter 2005
More than four years ago, on Feb. 15, 2000, the first prize-winning entry in an international competition to redesign the Theatre Development Fund's TKTS booth was unveiled. The design, by Australians John Choi and Tai Ropiha, featured a booth rooftop made of translucent steps that rise up, sloping northward to provide the nearby statue of Father Duffy a brilliant backdrop at the 47th Street end of bustling Duffy Square. Being Broadway, of course, the red steps light up at night.

The news attracted much comment at the time, but the plans were swiftly forgotten as the project languished. Now, the three groups in charge of the makeover—the Times Square Business Improvement District, the Theatre Development Fund (which runs the booth) and the Coalition for Father Duffy—have announced that construction will begin next winter. Between $2.5 and $3 million will be provided by the trio of organizations. The city will kick in for $1.4 million. From $3 to $4 million is yet to be raised.

During construction, the statue of Father Duffy—who gives the square (which is really a triangle) its name—will be temporarily removed.

At a press conference held Feb. 15, 2000, at the Van Alen Institute in Manhattan, the winning entry was cited by Times Square Business Improvement District president Brendan Sexton as being a handsome design that gave public something they have never had before—the opportunity to actually sit in Times Square and enjoy the view.

Described as the largest architecture competition in New York City history, the TKTS2K competition netted 683 Entries from 31 countries.

The attention focused on the competition was an indication of the continuing importance of Broadway as a tourist draw as well as recognition that Duffy Square and the TKTS booth have become world renown symbols of Broadway. First place winners John Choi and Tai Ropiha won $5,000 cash.

The TKTS booth, which was founded in 1973, operates out of two trailers. The architectural design will give the heavily trafficked business its first permanent home.

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