FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG JOINS TIMES SQUARE ALLIANCE, THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND, COALITION FOR FATHER DUFFY, BISHOP DENNIS SULLIVAN AND BERNADETTE PETERS TO OPEN NEWLY DESIGNED FATHER DUFFY SQUARE AND TKTS BOOTH
State-of-the-Art Architectural Design and Cutting Edge Technology
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined representatives from the Times Square Alliance, the Theatre Development Fund (TDF), the Coalition for Father Duffy, Bishop Dennis Sullivan and Bernadette Peters to open the new Father Duffy Square and TKTS booth, located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue at 46th Street. The enlarged and enhanced Father Duffy Square, featuring a redesigned TKTS booth under glowing glass steps, will create a world-class public space that celebrates not only New York City's dynamic theater community and Times Square itself, but also World War I hero Father Francis P. Duffy. Also joining the Mayor at the announcement were Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin, Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Thomas Duane, Times Square Alliance Chairman Mike Stengel and President Tim Tompkins, Theatre Development Fund Chairman David D. Holbrook and Executive Director Victoria Bailey; and Coalition for Father Duffy Chairman Bruce Meyerson.
"The new Duffy Square and TKTS booth exemplify the energy and creativity with which we welcome visitors to the City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Times Square is known around the globe as the greatest stage for theater, the best place to celebrate the new year and 'the crossroads of the world,' and these improvements will make the Times Square experience even greater. Thanks to the public-private partnership that made this project possible, New Yorkers and visitors alike have space to relax in the middle of the electric excitement of Times Square, while taking advantage of enhanced, affordable access to the exceptional theaters that help make New York City the culture capital of world."
"The bright lights of Broadway have always been a beacon to those looking for New York City's theatrical heart," said Council Speaker Quinn. "And now with the revitalization of Duffy Square, visitors will have a public space to match the lights and wonder that symbolize the magic of Times Square. I want to congratulate everyone involved on a job well done."
The renovation of Duffy Square grew out of an international design competition in 2000, sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund and directed by the Van Alen Institute. The new Duffy Square creates more usable pedestrian space, featuring high-quality design that garnered the City's Design Commission Award for Excellence. It also provides a new home for the TKTS booth, operated by the Theater Development Fund, which has provided more than 51 million discounted tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway performances since its inception 1973.
The custom-fabricated fiberglass TKTS booth is enclosed in an amphitheatre-style red glass staircase, 27 steps high, boasting seating room for more than 500 people. The state-of-the-art slip-resistant glass steps are lit from below with advanced LED technology and utilize unique geothermal-based heating and cooling technology.
"We believe the new Duffy Square will become an instant icon because it celebrates world-class design and innovation, Broadway theater, Times Square's rich history, and of course Times Square itself," said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins. "We thank all who made it possible - from the visionaries at TDF who came up with the idea for the design competition, to the custodians of Father Duffy's memory, to the architects and engineers who designed it, and most especially to the Mayor and City Council Speaker who provided the critical core funding."
"We're thrilled to move into our new home in Times Square," said TDF Executive Director Victoria Bailey. "TKTS began as an experiment in 1973, operating out of a donated construction trailer and quickly grew into an internationally celebrated meeting place for theatergoers from New York and around the world to purchase same-day discount tickets and share their theatre experiences. Today, 35 years later, this extraordinary new structure creates a visual statement which signifies the critical and enduring role of the theatre in New York City."
"This renovation project restores a true sense of glory to Father Francis Patrick Duffy and rightly features him as the centerpiece of this place of reverence, remembrance and reflection," said Coalition for Father Duffy Chairman Bruce Meyerson. "The site acknowledges the accomplishments of this American hero both at home and abroad. With the re-dedication of the Square, we celebrate Father Duffy's courage and compassion in WWI as Chaplin of the 69th where he supported the spiritual and emotional needs of the soldiers during intense trench warfare. We also recall his caring and charity as pastor at Holy Cross Church in the years after the War. It is only fitting, then, that at the crossroads of the world, his statue symbolically stands watch over the neighborhood he once served."
This $19 million project was overseen by the Times Square Alliance, the Theatre Development Fund and the Coalition for Father Duffy in a public-private partnership that included $11.5 million in City funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs.
"The new TKTS booth gives visitors a front row seat to the energy of midtown - and to cultural events all over the city," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Levin. "The booth is a great investment for the City, thanks to an innovative design and the stewardship of the Theatre Development Fund, which is committed to making the performing arts accessible and affordable."
"Today's opening of the new TKTS booth in Duffy Square provides access to world-class theatre offerings in a world-class setting," said George Fertitta CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's marketing, tourism and partnership organization. "Both residents and visitors alike will, no doubt, enjoy the value of discounted, same-day Broadway tickets."
The TKTS booth and floating red glass amphitheater were designed by Perkins Eastman, one of the nation's largest architecture and design firms. The design was inspired by the winner of the international ideas competition, Australia-based architectural firm Choi Ropiha. Williams Fellows Architects, a New York-based architecture and interior design firm, designed the plaza.
"We are very proud that our depth of research and sophisticated design have resulted in a truly unique public space at the crossroads of the world," said Bradford Perkins, FAIA, founder and CEO of Perkins Eastman, the architect for the project, and Nicholas Leahy, AIA, the principal who led the design team. "Creating the most sophisticated all-glass structure anywhere was one of the most complex design challenges we have ever met."
"We're thrilled to see the results of a Van Alen Institute design competition come to fruition at one of the world's most provocative and well known public sites," said Van Alen Institute Executive Director Adi Shamir. "Having sponsored a great many design competitions since the organization was founded in 1894, the Institute continues to champion the public design platform as unique process in which designers and engaged citizens can actively participate in the dialogue about the future of their city and civic life. Response to the TKTS 2K competition was unprecedented in New York City history - we received 683 entries from 31 countries - but the winning proposal by John Choi and Tai Ropiha made a powerful statement that immediately captured the imagination of all involved. It will, without a doubt, become an icon for New York."
"As one of the worlds's most well known destinations,
Times Square had no point of arrival and nowhere for people to sit and enjoy the
passing show," said design competition winners Tai Ropiha and John Choi of Choi
Ropiha. "Our design is about adding both 'front row' seats and a 'center stage'
to Times Square. It's been rewarding to see so many stakeholders and government
agencies unite behind the concept with the common belief that the project can
make a difference. We hope the TKTS booth becomes a popular meeting point and an
enduring marker for Times Square."
The Theatre Development Fund has played a unique role in strengthening live theatre and dance in New York City for the past 40 years. This not-for-profit service organization's programs have filled 72 million seats at discount prices (with theatre lovers who would normally not be able to attend live performance) and returned over 1.5 billion dollars in revenue to thousands of theatre, dance and music productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF's membership, voucher, access and education programs as well as its Costume Collection, help to make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. Theatre Development Fund receives major program funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Comprising members of New York's business and civic
communities, as well as veterans and Irish organizations, the Coalition for
Father Duffy is dedicated to honoring the memory of Father Francis Patrick
Duffy, the highly decorated World War I hero and Chaplain for New York's 69th
Regiment. The Coalition's mission is to spearhead and support the renovation and
preservation of Father Duffy Square with its partners the Theatre Development
Fund and the Times Square Alliance, in collaboration with various New York
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
Kate deRosset/Danai Pointer (DCA) (212) 513-9323
Andy Shearer (Times Square Alliance) (212) 843-8061
David LeShay (Theatre Development Fund) (212) 912-9770
Chris Heywood/Carli Smith (NYC & Company) (212) 484-1270