How to Navigate Times Square Like a New Yorker
New York City’s 13-block theater district has over 40 theaters to choose from. With all of those theaters comes lots of traffic, as midtown Manhattan is one of the most congested spots in the city. If you’re trying to go to a Broadway show in the city, it might seem impossible to pick up tickets while still making curtain time when you’re fighting massive crowds. Here is a quick guide with a few tips to navigate 41st Street to 54th Street during the busiest times of the day. And don’t worry, you’ll make it to your seat without missing the opening act!
Just Avoid Times Square Completely
This may seem a little contradictory, but the best way to navigate Times Square is to avoid it altogether. All New Yorkers know this. Avoid the middle of the square where it becomes the most congested. Along Broadway, from 42nd Street to 47th Street, the sidewalks are swamped with tourists gazing at the city’s buildings. You will probably also have people trying to swindle you into a souvenir photo. Make your life easier and just avoid this stretch altogether – unless you want a touristy picture. And if that’s the case, we don’t suggest trying before arriving at your Broadway show.
Walk the Outskirts
Almost all of Broadway theaters are located between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue. Head down 6th Avenue for performances located at the Stephen Sondheim, the Lyceum, the Belasco, the Minskoff, the Marquis, the Palace, the Cort, the Winter Garden and the Broadway Theatre. Or if you’re seeing a show at the St. James, the Majestic, the Golden, the Bernard B. Jacobs, the Al Hirschfeld, the Brooks Atkinson, the Samuel J. Friedman, the Longacre, the Eugene O’Neill, the Circle in the Square, the Gershwin, the Neil Simon, the August Wilson, or Studio 54, then walk along 8th Avenue.
You’ll save lots of time by avoiding Times Square madness (hint Tip 1). You only want to cut to your theater once you hit the street where it’s located.
You Should Know the Shortcuts
Another way to avoid the onslaught of crowds in the middle of the city is to cut directly through the streets. Starting on 44th Street, walk between 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue to find Shubert Alley or the Minskoff Theatre underpass. Both of these underpasses will take you from 44th Street to 45th Street. Once you’re in the middle of 45th Street, walk through the Marriott Marquis underpass to get to the middle of 46th Street. At 46th Street, cut through the entrance to the Edison Hotel to walk through the lobby and exit on the other side. For the next few blocks, you’ll have to return to 8th Avenue if you must go further, but once you get close to 50th Street, you can pass through the underpass by the Gershwin Theatre and the Circle in the Square to get to 51st Street.
Hit the Subway
You will find subway entrances to the C, E, 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R and W trains also on or near 42nd Street, but you can exit on 40th or 44th Street depending on where you’re going. W, N and R trains will let you off at 49th Street or 57th Street. The C, E and 1 trains will take you to 50th Street. For theaters closer to 50th, take the train. Or if you’re going to Lincoln Center, ride the 1 to 66th Street.
It’s time to find tickets to your first (or next) Broadway show now that you know how to navigate NYC like a pro! There are many different genres of shows to see in the theater district. Take time to look around and read show reviews before you purchase your tickets. Did you know that you can find discount Broadway tickets days before a show? Seeing a show doesn’t have to break the bank, so take advantage of all NYC has to offer!
Author: Alex Johnson