New York City's Theater District (sometimes spelled Theatre District, and officially zoned as the "Theater Subdistrict") is an area in Midtown Manhattan where most Broadway theaters are located, as well as many other theaters, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, and other places of entertainment. It is bounded by West 40th Street on the south, West 54th Street on the north, Sixth Avenue on the east and Eighth Avenue on the west, and includes Times Square. The Great White Way is the name given to the section of Broadway which runs through the Theater District.
It also contains recording studios, record label offices, theatrical agencies, television studios, restaurants, Duffy Square, Shubert Alley, the Brill Building, a Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, and Madame Tussauds New York.
Location in New York City
|City||New York City|
10018, 10019, 10036
|Area codes||212, 332, 646, and 917|
The City of New York defines the subdistrict for zoning purposes to extend from 40th Street to 57th Street and from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, with an additional area west of Eighth Avenue from 42nd Street to 45th Street. The Times Square Alliance, a Business Improvement District organization dedicated to improving the Theater District, defines the district as an irregularly shaped area within the bounding box of 40th Street, 6th Avenue, 53rd Street, and 9th Avenue. As of 2018, the Vivian Beaumont Theater (part of Lincoln Center) is the only Broadway-class theater not located in the Theater District.
In 1836, mayor Cornelius Lawrence opened 42nd Street in an attempt to get the city to expand north, saying "move up town and enjoy the pure, clean air". The Theater District first began attracting theaters and restaurants to the neighborhood after the Metropolitan Opera House moved to West 39th Street and Broadway in 1883. Oscar Hammerstein I opened his Victoria Theatre on 42nd Street in 1899. The Theater District became more accessible from the rest of the city after electrified trolley lines started running in 1899, followed by the opening of the New York City Subway's first line in 1904.
"The Great White Way" is a nickname for a section of Broadway in Midtown Manhattan that encompasses the Theater District. In 1880, a stretch of Broadway between Union Square and Madison Square was illuminated by Brush arc lamps, making it among the first electrically lighted streets in the United States. By the 1890s, the portion from 23rd Street to 34th Street was so brightly illuminated by electrical advertising signs that people began calling it "The Great White Way". When the theater district moved uptown before the turn of the century, the name was transferred to the Theater District.
Over the years since then, the district has been referred to by New Yorkers as "the Rialto," as "The Main Stem," and as "Broadway," and at the turn of the 20th century, was simply called "The Street".
By the 1970s, 42nd Street had become run-down and seedy – with the opening of some X-rated movie houses, peep shows, and so-called grind houses there – and was even considered a somewhat dangerous place to venture into by many New Yorkers. The entire area was later significantly revitalized by the city in the 1990s, with the closing of most of those businesses, and the opening of an array of new theaters, multiplex movie houses, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
In the Spring of 1982, Joseph Papp, the Broadway theatrical producer, and director who had established The Public Theater, led a campaign called "Save the Theatres" in Manhattan. The primary initial goal of the "Save the Theatres" effort, which was sponsored by Papp's not-for-profit group and supported by the Actors Equity union, was to save several theater buildings in the Theatre District neighborhood from their impending demolition by monied Manhattan development interests. Papp provided financial resources, campaign buttons, posters, and newspaper ads for the effort; recruited a publicist and actors to promote the cause; and provided a various stage and street venues for public events in support of the campaign for saving the historic theatres.
At Papp's behest, in July 1982, U.S. Representative Donald J. Mitchell of New York, and 13 co-sponsors,[a] introduced a bill entitled "A bill to designate the Broadway/Times Square Theatre District in the City of New York as a national historic site" (H.R. 6885). The proposed legislation, which was not enacted, would have required the Federal Government to aid financially and otherwise in preserving the district and its historic theatre houses as an official National Historic Site.
The Save the Theatres campaign then turned their efforts toward supporting the establishment of the Theater District as a registered New York City historic district. In December 1983, Save the Theatres prepared "The Broadway Theater District, a Preservation Development and Management Plan," and demanded that each theater in the district receive landmark designation. Mayor Koch ultimately responded by creating a Theater Advisory Council, that included Papp as a member, and which eventually led to the area being officially zoned as the "Theater Subdistrict."
In January 2001, the New York Appellate Division, First Department in Fisher v. Giuliani, partially upheld the 1998 expansion of the Theater Subdistrict zoning regulations, which added receiving sites along Eighth Avenue where development rights from the landmarked Broadway theaters could be sold. Community and civic organizations opposed the expansion of the district as it would impinge the nearby residential neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen/Clinton. The court objection, filed in 1999, did not challenge the pre-existing Theater Subdistrict itself or the original development rights zoning legislation.
Under the 1998 zoning regulation, New York City also created the Theater Subdistrict Council (TSC), a not-for-profit corporation. The TSC administers the Theater Subdistrict Fund and allocates grants.
The New York City Zoning Resolution for special purpose districts, as amended on April 30, 2012, contains special regulations for the Theater Subdistrict, including the transfer of development rights, incentives for the rehabilitation of existing theaters, the creation of a theater council to promote theaters, and zoning and signage for theaters, and contains a list of theaters that qualify for special provisions in the regulations.
The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 302 West 45th Street in midtown Manhattan. The Hirschfeld is one of five theatres owned and operated by Jujamcyn Theaters and current president Jordan Roth. The theatre has a seating capacity of 1,424.Ambassador Theatre (New York City)
The Ambassador Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 219 West 49th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for the Shuberts, the structure is noteworthy in that it is situated diagonally on its site to fit the maximum number of seats possible. Its external appearance, indistinguishable from many other Broadway houses, does not hint at the unusual layout within. The building has been designated a New York City landmark. The theatre's proscenium opening is 44 feet 11 inches (13.69 m) with a grid height of 54 feet 9 inches (16.69 m).
The theatre opened on February 11, 1921, with the musical The Rose Girl. The Shuberts sold the property in 1935, and for the next two decades it was used as a movie theater and television studio for NBC and later the DuMont Television Network, when it was known as the Ambassador Tele-Theatre. In 1956, the Shuberts assumed ownership again and returned it to strictly legitimate use.American Airlines Theatre
The American Airlines Theatre, originally the Selwyn Theatre, is a historic Italian Renaissance style Broadway theatre in New York City built in 1918. It was designed by George Keister and built by the Selwyn brothers. Used for musicals and other dramatic performances it was eventually converted for film. It was used briefly as a visitor's center but stood vacant for years until a 1997 renovation and restoration. It is located at 227 West 42nd Street.August Wilson Theatre
The August Wilson Theatre is located at 245 West 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan. The theatre, named after Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright August Wilson (2005), is owned and operated by Jordan Roth of Jujamcyn Theaters. The theatre has 1,222 seats, and its longest-running show was Jersey Boys (2005-2017). Since April of 2018, the Tony Award-nominated musical, Mean Girls has been running at the August Wilson.Barbetta
Barbetta is an Italian restaurant focused on Piemonte cuisine located at 321 West 46th Street (between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue) on the Theater District's Restaurant Row in New York City. Founded in 1906, Barbetta is one of the city's oldest family-owned Italian restaurants and the oldest restaurant in the Theater District. It holds many other firsts from its food innovations.
Barbetta was founded in 1906 by Sebastiano Maioglio and is now owned by his daughter, Laura Maioglio, who took over in 1962.Belasco Theatre
The Belasco Theatre is a Broadway theatre which opened in 1907 at 111 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Originally known as the Stuyvesant Theatre, it was designed by architect George Keister for impresario David Belasco. The interior featured Tiffany lighting and ceiling panels, rich woodwork and expansive murals by American artist Everett Shinn, and a ten-room duplex penthouse apartment that Belasco utilized as combination living quarters/office space.Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, formerly called the Royale Theatre and the John Golden Theatre, is a Broadway theatre located at 242 West 45th Street (George Abbott Way) in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.Booth Theatre
The Booth Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 222 West 45th Street (George Abbott Way) in midtown-Manhattan, New York City.
Architect Henry B. Herts designed the Booth and its companion Shubert Theatre as a back-to-back pair sharing a Venetian Renaissance-style façade.
Named in honor of famed 19th-century American actor Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, the theater's 783-seat auditorium was intended to provide an intimate setting for dramatic and comedic plays. It opened on October 16, 1913, with Arnold Bennett's play "The Great Adventure."
The venue was the second New York City theatre to bear this name. The first, Booth's Theatre, was originally owned by Edwin Booth, and built by the architectural partnership Renwick & Sands between 1867-69 on the corner of 23rd Street and 6th Avenue (see picture, below).
The Booth Theatre appeared in The West Wing episode Posse Comitatus as venue for a fictitious charity performance of War of the Roses which President Jed Bartlet attended during the assassination of the Qumari Defence Minister Abdul ibn Shareef.The box-office record was broken in 2013 by Bette Midler in I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers with a gross of $753,217 in just seven performances. Midler then broke her own record the week following with a gross of $865,144. The revival of The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper, topped Midler's record by grossing $1,058,547 for an eight-performance week ending December 28, 2014.Boston Theater District
The Boston Theater District is the center of Boston's theater scene. Many of its theaters are on Washington Street, Tremont Street, Boylston Street, and Huntington Avenue.Brill Building
The Brill Building (built 1931 as the Alan E. Lefcourt Building and designed by Victor Bark Jr.) is an office building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood. It is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American songs were written. It is considered to have been the center of the American music industry that dominated the pop charts in the early 1960s.The building is 11 stories and has approximately 175,000 square feet (16,300 m2) of rentable area. Originally named after the son of its builder, Abraham E. Lefcourt, the "Brill" name comes from a haberdasher who operated a store at street level and subsequently bought the building. The Brill Building was purchased by 1619 Broadway Realty LLC in June 2013 and has been undergoing renovation during the 2010s.Broadhurst Theatre
The Broadhurst Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 235 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan.It was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, a well-known theatre designer who had been working directly with the Shubert brothers; the Broadhurst opened September 27, 1917. Built back-to-back with the Majestic, it was meant to resemble the style of the neighboring Shubert and Booth theaters designed by Henry B. Herts, using less expensive brick and terra cotta materials on the discreetly neoclassical façadesIt was named after George Howells Broadhurst, an Anglo-American dramatist who came to America in 1886. In addition to writing plays, he managed theaters in Milwaukee, Baltimore, and San Francisco before he decided to open his own in association with the Shubert brothers. The theatre was constructed to house both musicals and plays, which it has done successfully for more than a century. It has been designated a New York City landmark.
The Broadhurst opened on September 27, 1917 with George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance, the first New York production of the philosophical 1910 comedy. It ran for only 52 performances and was not performed on Broadway again until 1953.
Recent tenants include Les Misérables, which in October 2006 began an intended six-month-long return engagement that finally closed in January 2008; and 2008 revivals of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with an all-African American cast including Terrence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, James Earl Jones, and Phylicia Rashad, and Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. The theatre is also notable for hosting Jerry Seinfeld's final performance of his original stand up material, which was filmed for an HBO special shortly after the finale of his long-running sitcom.Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
The Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, for the 2017–2018 season (which ended May 27, 2018) total attendance was 13,792,614 and Broadway shows had US$1,697,458,795 in grosses, with attendance up 3.9%, grosses up 17.1%, and playing weeks up 2.8%.The majority of Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the Western Hemisphere.Ellen's Stardust Diner
Ellen's Stardust Diner is a retro 1950s theme restaurant located at 1650 Broadway on the southeast corner of 51st Street in Theater District, Manhattan, New York City. The diner is regarded as one of the best theme restaurants in New York owing to its singing waitstaff. The diner also contains retro-themed memorabilia such as photos of many past Miss Subways on the walls, an indoor train, a 1956 Predicta television, and a “drive-in theater” screen that showcases performances of the 1950s. It is popular among children and adults.Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant
Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant, known popularly as Jack Dempsey's, was a restaurant located in the Brill Building on Broadway between 49th and 50th streets in Manhattan, New York.Owned by world Heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Dempsey, it was considered by many to be an American institution. The restaurant originally opened for business as Jack Dempsey's Restaurant on Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, directly across from the third Madison Square Garden, in 1935. Most nights would find Dempsey's famous proprietor on hand to greet guests, sign autographs, pose for pictures, and hold court with people from all walks of life.
Located next door to Jack Amiel's "Turf Restaurant" on Times Square, Amiel became famous as the owner of the "underdog" horse Count Turf who won the 1951 Kentucky Derby. A few years after his Derby win, Jack Amiel became a co-owner of Jack Dempsey's Restaurant, which closed in 1974.
A favorite attraction of the restaurant was its famous cheesecake. In a letter to New York Magazine in 1973 Dempsey wrote,"Jack Dempsey's cheesecake has been in existence for almost 40 years. And in New York it is an institution in itself. It is baked on our premises, eaten in our restaurant, as well as airmailed all over the United States and Europe. We have had requests for our cheesecake from tourists who come to New York from faraway places; we've fulfilled requests over the years from France's late President Charles DeGaulle, who had his cheesecakes sent several times a year."Minnesota Strip
The Minnesota Strip is an archaic name for an area in Manhattan comprising Eighth Avenue between 42nd Street and 57th Street. It is now part of Hell's Kitchen.Restaurant Row (Manhattan)
Restaurant Row is a section of West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues near the Theater District of Manhattan in New York City, named for the number of restaurants located along its length.Sardi's
Sardi's is a continental restaurant located at 234 West 44th Street (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue) in the Theater District in Manhattan, in New York City. Known for the hundreds of caricatures of show-business celebrities that adorn its walls, Sardi's opened at its current location on March 5, 1927.Shubert Theatre (New York City)
The Shubert Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 225 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements, Times Square is sometimes referred to as "The Crossroads of the World", "The Center of the Universe", "the heart of The Great White Way", and "the heart of the world". One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days.Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the then newly erected Times Building – now One Times Square – the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop which began on December 31, 1907, and continues today, attracting over a million visitors to Times Square every year.Times Square functions as a town square, but is not geometrically a square; it is closer in shape to a bowtie, with two triangles emanating roughly north and south from 45th Street, where Seventh Avenue intersects Broadway. Broadway runs diagonally, crossing through the horizontal and vertical street grid of Manhattan laid down by the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, and that intersection creates the "bowtie" shape of Times Square.The southern triangle of Times Square has no specific name, but the northern triangle is called Father Duffy Square. It was dedicated in 1937 to Chaplain Francis P. Duffy of New York City's U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment and is the site of a memorial to him, along with a statue of George M. Cohan, as well as the TKTS reduced-price ticket booth run by the Theatre Development Fund. Since 2008, the booth has been backed by a red, sloped, triangular set of bleacher-like stairs, which is used by people to sit, talk, eat, and take photographs.
below 14th St
(CB 1, 2, 3)
|Midtown (CB 5)|
|West Side (CB 4, 7)|
|East Side (CB 6, 8)|
above 110th St
(CB 9, 10, 11, 12)