Along Broadway, in Manhattan, there are more things to do and see on one street than in many large cities. This long avenue runs north-south, mostly, and its deviations are appropriate to its role in the life of New York. For, Broadway is home to business, theater, dining, shops, and a host of famous buildings.
Where Broadway intersects Fifth Avenue, at 23rd street, lies the turn-of-the-century Flatiron Building. Sited on a triangular plot, this wedge-shaped 21-story office building has attracted the curious since its completion in 1901. Even then, the unusual site produced wind gusts that lifted skirts, attracting male onlookers who were shooed away by the policeman’s once-famous phrase ’23 Skidoo’.
Only a little further up, at 233 Broadway, is the medieval-looking Woolworth Building. Completed in 1913, it was the tallest building in New York prior to the completion of the Chrysler Building. Even today its tall floors combine to reach the equivalent height of an 80-story skyscraper. Inside, its cathedral-like décor makes this massive tower an architectural marvel inside and out.
Only ten minutes further north is Times Square, recognized the world over as the home of New Year’s neon lights and nightly Broadway theater. Centered at 42nd Street, it runs roughly from 8th Avenue to Broadway and up to 46th Street. The boundaries are not exact – the theaters are housed as high as 53rd.
In the daytime, it’s just a busy mid-town area where taxis zoom through clothing designers carting their creations and the New York Times creates a daily newspaper. At night, the lights sparkle and the city begins to dance to the latest Broadway tune.
Inexpensive, last-minute tickets to a show can sometimes be had for those wishing to wait in line at TKTS in the heart of the area. 25-50% discounts are common, but availability is hit-or-miss. (And half of $100 still ain’t cheap!)
A rejuvenation in the 1990s made the once-seedy district safe and family-friendly with a Disney store, Virgin Megastore, comedy clubs, and much more.
But, there are also restaurants and shops and people watching to amuse and delight the traveler. Not least of the eateries is The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center just north of Times Square at 48th Street. Not to be outdone, though, is the famous deli: Lindy’s. Cheesecake isn’t the only thing famous at 1655 Broadway, where sooner or later all the celebrities come to eat.
Continuing past these landmarks one sooner rather than later reaches Columbus Circle at 59th Street, the site of several famous movie scenes along with the giant Paramount (Gulf & Western) Communications building atop the subway entrance. Wind gusts here can combine with the rain and polished plaza stone to actually push a pedestrian backward!
Veering left at the corner of Central Park and continuing north a couple of blocks is the Lincoln Center music and dance complex. At 62nd. Home to the world-class American Ballet Theater, the Joffrey, and other companies, the center also hosts the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. The famous performing school, Juilliard is also located here.
Whether your taste is theater, dining, shopping, or just plain looking Broadway offers something for every taste.