Sunday, July 3, 2011

Times Square TKTS Booth at Duffy Square: Now & Then

Twelve ticket windows await the thousands that will purchase tickets daily.
Duffy Square and the red-steps that make up the roof of the TKTS booth.

Above photos: opposing photos from the top and bottom of the red TKTS steps.
(all photos except where noted: TheHopefulTraveler)
Boards lists the shows and discounts available
at the booth.
Just three years ago the TKTS sales booth was comprised of a construction trailer disguised by scaffolding and white canvas ribbon emblazoned with the TKTS logo. Today a glowing red staircase serves as a roof and gathering place over a space-age style booth shell encased in glass.

The booth's 27 steps sweeps up to 16 feet above 47th Street which offers at the top a panoramic view of Times Square. To prevent squatting on the steps don’t be surprised to find them closed in the wee hours of the morning. The steps may also be closed during bad weather. Like amphitheater seats, visitors seated on the steps have a front row view of bustling Times Square.

These iconic steps seats over 500 people and are illuminated giving them a ruby glow in evening. Additional engineering embedded the glass with silver bits that helps to keep pedestrians from slipping even when the steps are wet. They can be warmed in winter and kept cool during the hot summer months.

Additional work was completed on Father Duffy Square (the name of this pedestrian island) which enlarged the space by 115 percent and more comfortably accommodates the hundreds who line up daily rather than having them spill onto the roadway.

(photo credit: 
Above photos: the trailer, scaffolding and banners of the former booth.
(photo credit:
When the original booth closed for demolition on May 1, 2006, plans were for a new booth to be completed and open by the end of the year. But with the project going over budget six times (the city of New York picked up $11.5 of the $19 million cost) and the failure of the original glass manufacturer, ticket buyers had to wait over two years until the new booth was unveiled in October 2008.

During that two-year time, the booth temporarily relocated one block south to the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. Located in a former street-level retail space mid-block on 47th Street, the line of ticket buyers snaked into the pedestrian breezeway beneath the hotel that leads to 46th Street.

One tradition that ended with the relocation and continues with the new booth is the prohibition of the distribution of flyers. The Marquis had a strict policy to prevent littering and these flyers that used to be passed out generally by shows and piled onto tables at the front of the booth are no more.

A 2007 photo shows the booth and under construction.
The booth relocated to the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.
The boards set up at the Marriott Marquis Hotel to notify buyers
of the available shows and discounts.

The TKTS booth sits on a triangular pedestrian square named for Reverend Father P. Duffy (1871-1932), a civic and neighborhood hero in his day, who was chaplain to the 69th infantry during World War I and pastor of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church. A bronze statue (left) with a Celtic cross stands in his honor at the foot of the booth’s steps. A second statue (below) honors George M. Cohan (1878-1942), an American entertainer who wrote, produced and stared in Broadway musicals. He is also known for composing such classics as “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Boy.” (note: George Cohan statue photo by pdj1/flickr)


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