There is an poetic juxtaposition at play in New York’s midtown. With Broadway shut down since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theatre district finds itself without its namesake art form or the hustle and bustle it brings. In its place is an heirloom of what once was and a reminder of what will return: dressed-up mascots still pace Times Square offering photos and selfies. The streets remain basked in the neon glow of the LED displays filled with ads and aspiration, though few pedestrians continue to walk through plazas. But for now, the Crossroads of the World is quiet.
Broadway is at intermission—the show will continue eventually. In celebration of NYC's theatre district, four photographers gave Playbill a look at the theatre district through their eyes.
Rebecca J. Michelson
The thing I love most about the theatre district is the constant energy of the hustle and bustle. But when you snag a ticket to a Broadway show, you know that the world will melt away for the next two hours. The theatre district is full of opportunity and wonder, and from inside the theatre bubble, it truly feels like anything is possible and nothing can stop you.
Michael Hull Photo
New York's theatre district is full of history and beauty, but what makes it most special to me is the community that it holds. There's a joke that 57th Street down to 34th in Midtown is "campus." Something magical happens when that many creative, passionate, somewhat-crazy people all descend into a 23-block radius together. The lights shine a little brighter and the city seems to buzz.
The theatre district holds a lot of good memories for me and the people that I love. Lately I’ve found myself there more often than not for projects, which is when I took this photo of the St. James. It makes me look forward to theatre coming back and being able to see a busy 44th Street again.
Marc J. Franklin
It’s funny how I miss the little things about midtown: the increasingly inventive ways vendors on the street tried to sell me a CD, waving to a theatre colleague as we rushed along on our separate journeys, the noise of it all, and the indescribable magnetism of Broadway. Times Square just isn’t the same as it once was, but then again, it shouldn’t be. Still, it is home to so many memories—concrete recollections of events that were once dreams when I was young. I can’t wait to make new ones, hopefully sooner rather than later.