Revision as of 19:27, 25 September 2012
The neon lights and bustle of Times Square
The Theater District is a popular area of Manhattan in New York City, situated on the western side of Midtown. There is more to this area than just theater, with revivified neighborhoods to the west and north of the core entertainment zone.
The Theater District is occasionally referred to as Midtown West (to distinguish it from "Midtown East").
This district stretches from 34th St, through the heavily commercial West 30s up to 59th St (beyond which is Central Park), and lies west of 6th Ave. The West Side is home not only to the famed "Great White Way" (Broadway), but to the emerging business district centered on the now thoroughly Disneyfied Times Square. The Theater District centers on the outlandishly commercial "New" 42nd Street and heads up Broadway and 7th Avenues, melding to the west with the resurgent neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen and its commercial strip on 9th Avenue, and to the north with the newly-built Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The area becomes increasingly residential as you go north or west, and more commercial to the east and south. Many of Manhattan's largest hotels (including the Hilton and the Sheraton) are located on 6th or 7th Avenue in this area.
- Times Square Information Center, 7th Ave (between 46th and 47th Sts), . M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-8PM. Multilingual tourist counselors, free maps and brochures, tickets for Broadway shows and sightseeing tours, and free internet access on their Yahoo computers.
The Times Square-42nd St. subway station is one of the major nerve centers of public transit in New York, with the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R and S (Grand Central Shuttle) lines all stopping there, while a pedestrian tunnel affords a free transfer to the 42nd St.-8th Av. station, which serves the A, C, and E lines. Nearby, though not connected to the Times Square-42nd St. station, the B, D, F, and M lines stop at 42nd St. and 6th Avenue.
South of Times Square, the 1, 2, and 3 lines run under 7th Avenue, the A, C and E lines run under 8th Avenue, the N, Q and R lines run under Broadway, and the B, D, F and M lines run under 6th Avenue, with all lines stopping at 34th Street.
North of Times Square, the 1, 2, and 3 lines run under Broadway, with the 1 stopping at 50th St. and 59th St-Columbus Circle. The A, C, and E lines run under 8th Avenue, with the C and E stopping at 50th St., before the E branches east to head under 53rd St. to Queens, stopping at 7th Av, while the A and C lines continue north, stopping at 59th St-Columbus Circle. The N, Q, and R lines run under 7th Avenue, stopping at 57th St. (the ideal stop for Carnegie Hall), with the N and R lines also stopping at 49th St. The F train continues along 6th Avenue, stopping at 57th St., while the B and D trains head northwest, stopping at 7th Av./53rd St. and 59th St-Columbus Circle.
By MTA bus
Quite a number of city bus routes serve the area (see the MTA website  for a map), but crosstown routes in particular can be subject to gridlock at peak times.
By long distance bus
Manhattan's main long distance bus station is the Port Authority Bus Terminal, between 8th and 9th Avenues between 40th and 42nd Streets. Connections are available on commuter buses to New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, and to long-distance routes through the country and to Canada.
Taxis ply the area day and night but can slow to a standstill during rush hour, lunch time, and even mid-afternoon. However, if you need a taxi and are unfamiliar with normal taxi fares, do not hail anything but a yellow cab. Drivers of black limos who offer to pick you up may try to cheat you.
Walking is the way you can see the most, but even walking can be a problem, particularly on Broadway and 7th Av. between 48th and 42nd Sts. Large numbers of tourists are liable to be standing still and looking up every few feet, and of course, you may be one of them. But if you prefer to take a walk at a steadier pace, take a side street and walk on another avenue.
On Times Square, even the police station has a flashy neon sign on the roof
- Times Square, Broadway and 7th Avenue, stretching from 42nd to 48th Streets. A place filled with video screens, LED signs, and flashing lights; a world wonder or a tourist nightmare depending on your perspective, the "new" Times Square is a family-friendly theme park of themed restaurants, theaters and hotels, as well as a developing business district. The lights and signs can be viewed anytime, but the most enchanting experience comes when one visits Times Square at night, as all the signs and screens are ablaze with color. Times Square is also well known for its famous New Year's Eve ball drop. Those looking for the seedy Times Square of years past will find it around the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and on Eighth Avenue to the west.
- TKTS Booth, 47th St (between Broadway and 7th Ave, at the north end of Times Square). A ticket booth selling discounted Broadway and off-Broadway shows. However, the cheaper tickets aren't the only attraction, as the back of the booth is a large, red-lit glass staircase facing Times Square, which serves as a set of bleachers and offers an excellent opportunity to get above the street and just watch the crowds and flashing signs.
- One Times Square, 1475 Broadway (at 42nd St). Originally the second-tallest building in the world when it opened in 1905, One Times Square was constructed to be the headquarters for The New York Times, a function it would serve for less than ten years. The annual Times Square ball drop is performed from the roof of this building. And you can't miss the famous Dow Jones news and sports zipper (the first news ticker in the world) attached to its lower facade.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum - Bridge
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86 (12th Ave & 46th St), ☎ +1 212 245-0072, . Apr-Sep M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM; Oct-Mar Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. The aircraft carrier Intrepid is docked here and loaded with spacecraft and aircraft including the very cool Blackbird spy plane. On the other side of the dock is a guided-missile submarine and a Concorde, both of which you can tour also, and some tanks. $16.50 adult.
- ABC Times Square Studios, 1500 Broadway (between 43rd and 44th Sts), ☎ +1 212 930-7700. Come here bright and early in the morning to be in the live audience of the network's famous morning news show, Good Morning America. Walkbys can view the show in progress from the studio's street level windows and catch up on the latest news scrolling away continuously on the building's lower two message zippers.
- AMC Empire 25 Theatre, 234 W 42nd St (A,C,E,N,Q,R,W,S,1,2,3,7 subway to 42nd St), ☎ +1 212 398-3939, . First showings begin around noon, last showings begin at around 11pm. This large multiplex cinema shows first-run, mainstream films on 25 screens. It also contains an IMAX cinema showing mainstream feature films. $6-$14.
- Carnegie Hall, 154 W 57th St, . If you ask a New Yorker how to get to Carnegie Hall, you may get the answer "Practice, practice!" This elegant 19th-century hall, the closest we have to the great European halls, is New York's premier venue for famous recitalists and visiting symphony orchestras. The complex also includes the more intimate Weill Recital Hall slightly further east and Zankel Hall, in the basement of the side of the building facing 7th Av. near 56th St, a medium-sized venue used by jazz groups and classical concert pianists, alike.
- Hudson Theatre, 145 W 44th St, ☎ +1 212 768-4400, . This theatre is over 100 years old and remains the third oldest theatre in Broadway. Located right next to the Millennium Broadway Hotel, this NYC theatre now offers wedding, event and meeting space in an elegant, historic setting.
- Kramer's Reality Tour, 358 W 44th St (At: The Producers Club Theater), ☎ +1 212 268-5525 (toll free: +1 800 572-6377, fax: +1 212 465-9327), . Sa Su noon. For Seinfeld fans. Kenny Kramer, said to be the inspiration for the character Kramer, tells about the show, in a fun way. And guides on a tour to places seen in the show. Stop for photo outside the restaurant seen in the show. $37.50.
- Discovery Times Square Exposition (Discovery TSX), 226 West 44th Street, . Discovery Times Square Exposition is an exhibition hall that caters to traveling exhibitions that are deemed "too large, too expensive, too nondisciplinary or too commercial" for local museums. Discovery TSX has been home to Harry Potter: The Exhibition, CSI: The Experience, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, King Tut NYC: Return of the King, and Pompeii the Exhibit.
- Hershey's Times Square, 1593 Broadway (between 48th and 49th Sts), ☎ +1 212 581-9100, . Su-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-11PM. Purchase all types of chocolate goodies and Hershey-themed trinkets here. A few dollars can also get your personalized message scrolled across their authentic zipper outside on the store's facade.
- Macy's, 151 W 34th St (between 7th Ave and Broadway), ☎ +1 212 695-4400. Billing itself as "The World's Largest Store" on the large signs outside, this is the flagship store of the national chain and covers an entire city block. Its holiday window displays are so popular that they usually have a corporate sponsor. One useful tip for visitors is to go to the Macy's guest center on floor 1 1/2 and they will give you a guest card that discounts virtually everything in the store by 11%.
- Kinokuniya, On 6th Ave. between 41st and 40th Streets is a Japanese book dealer, carrying a huge selection of Japanese reading material. It also sells a number of books by Japanese authors in English translation. It is also known as a source of excellent Japanese anime and manga, much of which is difficult or impossible to find anywhere else in the United States.
- M&M's World New York, 1600 Broadway (between 48th and 49th Sts), ☎ +1 212 295-3850, . Daily 9AM-Midnight. Purchase all types of M&M goodies and M&M-themed trinkets here.
- Sephora, 1500 Broadway (between 43rd and 44th Sts), ☎ +1 212 944-6789 (fax: +1 212 944-7503), . Daily 10AM-Midnight. One-stop shopping for all your cosmetic needs.
- Toys 'R' Us, 1514 Broadway (between 44th and 45th Sts), ☎ +1 646 366-8800, . M-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-9PM. The name pretty much speaks for itself, though it's probably a lot bigger and more dazzling than the typical Toys "R" Us store back in your hometown. Browse through the many sections of toys, games, and electronics and take a ride on their indoor ferris wheel. The cars, based on toys, can carry several people and each round will allow riders to see each floor in the building. An attendant at the loading station will take a picture of you in the car before you go up, however; purchasing the photo is expensive so only do so if you really want to get it.
- 48th Street- Between 6th and 7th Avenues is just off to the northeast of Times Square. Most of this block is occupied by musical instrument dealers. The largest, Sam Ash, has multiple storefronts there, each of which caters to a different family of instruments and equipment.
Times Square can seem infested with glorified, tacky, and overpriced versions of chain restaurants like McDonalds, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Red Lobster, and Applebee's that you can find anywhere else in America. These restaurants are more expensive than their suburban counterparts (a Big Mac costs $6) However, there are better food options available in the area, especially if you get away from Times Square proper and explore other areas in the Theater District.
- Cranberry Cafe, 115 W 45th St (1 block from Times Square). Always open.. A huge variety of sandwiches, pizza, sushi, and udon. Hot and cold salad bars. Sandwiches are $4-$6. Very popular with local workers, so it gets very busy at breakfast and lunch time. There is ample seating upstairs.
- Poseidon Bakery, 629 9th Ave (between 44th and 45th Sts), ☎ +1 212 757-6173. Serves wonderful Greek pastries, savory and sweet alike. There is no place to sit, but the staff are very friendly and helpful, and you can have a delicious, cheap meal for takeout.
- Ariana Afghan Kebab House, 787 9th Ave (between 52nd and 53rd Sts), ☎ +1 212 262-2323 or +1 212 262-0065, . 11:30AM-10:30PM daily. Very good food, which of course includes kebabs, but also peppery Aush (a type of beany noodle soup), Badinjan Burani (a fried eggplant appetizer garlic and yogurt, served with bread), etc. Salads, which come with main dishes, have a dressing which includes mayonnaise. Ask for no dressing and put the green hot sauce on them yourself. About $20-30/person for a large 3-course meal with a non-alcoholic beverage.
- Carnegie Deli, 854 7th Ave (at 55th St), ☎ +1 212 757-2245, . 6:30AM-4AM daily. This popular deli is a place some love and some hate. They serves enormous sandwiches -- each of which could easily feed two hungry people. There is a $3 charge for sharing the sandwiches.
- Gazala Place, 709 9th Ave (Between 48th and 49th Sts.), ☎ +1 212 245-0709, . Sun-Fri: 11am-11pm Sat: 11am-midnight. Dependably delicious Israeli Druze cuisine. Their babaganush is categorically better than at most other places, with great smokiness. Their special meze platter, which is not on the menu but seems to always be available, is a fair deal at $20-something. The restaurant is a bit cramped, especially when you have to walk through the kitchen to the restroom, but for food this good at these kinds of prices this close to Times Square and helpful service, it's really worthwhile. Mezes: $5-$9.95; Soups: $4.50; Salads: $7.50-8:50; Breads and savory pies: $4.50-$5.50; Sandwiches: $3.50-6.00; Entrees: $8.95-$17.95; Desserts: $5.50-9.50.
- John's Pizzeria, 260 West 44th Street (just east of 8th Ave), ☎ +1 212 391-7560, . Daily 11:30AM-11:30PM. A popular pizza option with a lovely and spacious atmosphere and brick oven, coal fired, thin crust pizzas. Whole pies, no slices. Many fans, however, observe that the pizza at this location is not nearly as good as at their original Greenwich Village location. Also, pre-theater, it can be absolutely mobbed, with wait times of an hour or more.
- Meskerem, 468 W 47th St (between 9th and 10th Aves), ☎ +1 212 664-0520. Noon-11PM daily. Delicious Ethiopian food, served on delightfully sour injera (sour dough flatbread made from teff, an Ethiopian grain). The combos are the best values, and consider getting some tej (mead) to drink with the meal. Bottles are a good value at $18. Entrees are $8-19.95.
- Ocha, 350 W 46th St (between 8th and 9th Aves), ☎ +1 212 581-3198. Japanese restaurant with good sushi.
- Vice Versa, 325 W 51st St (between 8th and 9th Aves), ☎ +1 212 399-9291, . Simple, but tasty Italian fare. $10-$25.
- Aureole, 135 West 42nd St (between 6th and 7th Aves), ☎ +1 212 319-1660, .
- Barbetta, 321 W 46th St (between 8th and 9th Aves), ☎ +1 212 246-9171, .
- Gordon Ramsay at The London NYC, 151 West 54th St (between 6th and 7th Ave), ☎ +1 212 468-8888, .
- Brasserie 1605 at The Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhatatn, 1605 Broadway (between 48th and 49th Street), ☎ +1 212 315-6000, .
- B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd St (Times Square), . Consists of two areas: the Showcase Room which features bigger name performers and the smaller Lucille's Grill which offers free music.
- Birdland, W 44th St (between 8th and 9th Aves). This historic club (though not at the original location of W. 52 St.) features a great lineup of justly famous performers and has good acoustics. Expect to pay a fair price for that quality. Pricey drinks, good desserts. Dinner is also available and might be worth a try.
- The Perfect Pint, 123 W 45th St (at Broadway), ☎ +1 212 354-1099. Two-story pub off of Times Square with good Irish beers on tap and pricey entrées. Definitely not typical pub-grub, but the price matches. $15-25 ().
- Hotel Carter, 250 W 43rd St (between 7th and 8th Aves), ☎ +1 347 748-1309 (email@example.com, fax: +1 212 398-8541), . Offering 700 lodging accommodations all with private bath. Close-up view of the ball drop at New Times Square. $99+.
- New York Inn, 765 8th Ave (at 47th St), ☎ +1 212 247-5400 (toll free: +1 888 465-1140, firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 212 541-4596), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Affordable lodging accommodations offering double standard bed, color cable TV, telephone, AC/heating and private facilities. Refrigerators, ironing and ironing boards are available upon request. Safety box is available at no extra charge. Free wifi plus one internet kiosk are available in the lobby. Dorms from $29, private rooms from $69.
- Casablanca Hotel, 147 W 43rd St (between Broadway and 6th Ave), ☎ +1 212 869-1212 (toll free: +1 888 922-7225, email@example.com, fax: +1 212 391-7585), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Boutique hotel just off Times Square. High-speed Wi-fi and complimentary refreshments in Rick's Cafe 24 hours a day including breakfast in the mornings and wine and cheese receptions in the evenings except for Sunday nights. $183+.
- Hilton Garden Inn, 790 8th Ave (between 47th and 48th Sts), ☎ +1 212 581-7000 (fax: +1 212 974-0291), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Completely remodeled in 2005 with flat-screen TVs, comfy bedding. Free wireless, business center and in-room fridge. $143-$400.
- Hotel 41, 206 W 41st St (between 7th and 8th Aves), ☎ +1 212 703-8600 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 212 302-0895), . Times Square boutique hotel next door to the Nederlander Theatre, home of the musical Rent. $129+.
- Hotel Mela, 120 W 44th St (between 6th Ave and 7th Ave/Broadway), ☎ +1 877 452-6352 (email@example.com, fax: +1 212 710-7399), . Luxury boutique hotel in Times Square. $161+.
- GEM Hotel, 449 W 36th St (between 9th and 10th Aves), ☎ +1 212 967-7206 (fax: +1 212 967-7237), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. $109+.
- Salisbury Hotel, 123 W 57th St (between 6th and 7th Ave), ☎ +1 212 246-1300 (toll free: +1 888 692-5757, fax: +1 212 977-7752), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. King and double-bed rooms. Standard rooms are much larger than typical as the hotel was originally designed as a suite hotel. $109+.
- Sanctuary Hotel, 132 W 47th St (between 6th and 7th Aves), ☎ +1 212 234-7000 (toll free: +1 800 388-8988, fax: +1 212 382-0684), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. A Times Square-area hotel offering modern accommodations. $300+.
- Travel Inn Hotel, 515 W 42nd St, .
- Belvedere Hotel, 319 W 48th St (between 8th and 9th Aves), ☎ +1 212 245-7000 (toll free: +1 888 468-3558), . Art Deco hotel. $113.90+.
- Crowne Plaza Times Square, 1605 Broadway (at 49th St), ☎ +1 212 977-4000 (toll free: +1 800 593-5434, firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 212 333-7393), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Upscale hotel with 770 guest rooms, Manhattan's largest indoor lap pool, Brasserie 1605 Restaurant, meeting facilities. $189+.
- DoubleTree Suites - Times Square, 1568 Broadway New York, NY USA, ☎ +1 212-719-1600, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. Actual suites with a reasonable amount of space for NYC. Free cookies at the front desk.
- Flatotel, 135 W 52nd St (between 6th and 7th Aves), ☎ +1 212 887-9400 (email@example.com, fax: +1 212 887-9795), . A boutique hotel with 288 apartment size deluxe rooms and suites, custom designed furniture and state-of-the-art amenities. $185+.
- Hotel Edison, 228 W 47th St (between Broadway and 8th Ave), ☎ +1 212 840-5000 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. Art deco hotel built in 1931, steps from Times Square, known for its old-school luncheonette - where you can get matzo ball soup, omelettes, and the like - and the mock-Art Deco murals on the ground floor. $119+.
- Hudson Hotel, 356 W 58th St (between 8th and 9th Aves), ☎ +1 212 554-6000; reservations +1 800 606-6090 (fax: +1 212 554-6001), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: Noon. A fashionably trendy upmarket boutique hotel which is great for celeb spotting. Rooms are comparatively tiny with little storage space, so think again if you travel with a big wardrobe. Otherwise, the subdued lighting, designer fittings, and relatively lower prices tend to attract a younger vibey crowd, especially to the über-trendy bar at the foyer level. Standard double room from $199-$375.
- Jumeirah Essex House, 160 Central Park South (between 6th and 7th Aves), ☎ +1 212 247-0300 (email@example.com, fax: +1 212 315-1839), . Built in 1931, The Jumeirah Essex House is a well known and recognized feature of Manhattan. $299+.
- The London NYC, 151 W 54th St (between 6th and 7th Aves), ☎ +1 212 468-8856 (toll free: +1 866 690-2029), . $279+.
- Manhattan Club, 200 W 56th St (between 7th Ave and Broadway), ☎ +1 212 453-8855 (toll free: +1 888 692-2121, firstname.lastname@example.org), . Suites and first class services and amenities. Each suite features appliances, plush fabrics and elegant furnishings with marble baths. Timeshares available.
- The Millennium Broadway Hotel New York, 145 W 44th St, ☎ +1 212 768-4400 (fax: +1 212 768-0847), . Hotel near Broadway that features spacious rooms and suites, a conference center, wedding reception locations, event venues and an on-site restaurant.
- New York Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, ☎ +1 212 398-1900, . Updated hotel rooms, high-speed elevators and six hotel restaurants and lounges. It is known for its revolving bar and the view from its clear-sided elevators.
- Park Central Hotel, 870 7th Ave (at 56th St), . Right next to Carnegie Hall and close to the Theater District. Recently spent $65 million on renovations. While its renovations have significantly improved this hotel, it is, at best, a four-star hotel and clearly not one of New York's luxury hotels.
- Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square, 714 7th Ave, .
- Staybridge Suites Times Square, 340 W 40th St, . An extended stay hotel offering pet friendly lodging accommodations and suites with fully equipped kitchens.
- The Westin New York at Times Square, 270 W 43rd St, ☎ +1 212 201-2700 (toll free: +1 866-837-4183, email@example.com), .
- The Times Square Information Center (listed above) offers free internet access on their Yahoo computers.
Too many travelers spend all or most of their time in the Theater District and other largely non-residential areas of Midtown Manhattan. From the viewpoint of many New Yorkers, the "real New York" is elsewhere, in the residential neighborhoods uptown, downtown, and even a couple of blocks west of Times Square and the bright lights of the Great White Way. If you want to find out how New Yorkers live, work, and party and feel the pace of the city, go to neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, the East Village, Chinatown, Harlem, the Upper West and Upper East Sides, or just walk to 9th Av.
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