Theater District in Manhattan

Monday, 31 October 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, New York City, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries
Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Peter James Zielinski/cc-by-3.0

© Peter James Zielinski/cc-by-3.0

New York City‘s Theater District (sometimes spelled Theatre District, and officially zoned as the “Theater Subdistrict”) is an area and neighborhood 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, movie theaters, Duffy Square, Shubert Alley, the Brill Building, and Madame Tussauds New York.

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. The area known as Theatre Row is an area on 42nd Street from Ninth Avenue to Eleventh Avenue, which includes many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters.

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The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) considered protecting close to 50 “legitimate theaters” as individual city landmarks in 1982, following the destruction of the Helen Hayes and Morosco theatres. A city-landmark status would prevent the theaters from being modified without the LPC’s permission, thereby protecting them from development. The landmarks under consideration included both facades and interiors, which were designated separately. Manhattan Community Board 5, under whose jurisdiction the vast majority of the theaters fell, supported many of the proposed landmark protections. An advisory panel under mayor Ed Koch voted to allow the LPC consider theaters not only on their historical significance but also on their architectural merits. In response to objections from some of the major theatrical operators, several dozen scenic and lighting designers offered to work on the LPC for creating guidelines for potential landmarks.

The first theaters to be landmarked under the 1982 plan were the Neil Simon, Ambassador, and Virginia (August Wilson) in August 1985. The landmark plan was then deferred temporarily until some landmark guidelines were enacted; the guidelines, implemented in December 1985, allowed operators to modify theaters for productions without having to consult the LPC. The three theaters’ operators objected to the landmark statuses.

Landmark designations of theaters increased significantly in 1987, starting with the Palace in mid-1987. The LPC designated the Al Hirschfeld, Belasco, Booth, and Brooks Atkinson, as well as the Broadhurst, Ethel Barrymore, and Biltmore in early November 1987. This was followed by the Cort, 46th Street (Richard Rodgers), John Golden, Hayes, Hudson, Imperial, and Mark Hellinger later the same month, as well as the Embassy, which was never a Broadway venue. In December 1987, the LPC designated the Eugene O’Neill, Henry Miller’s (Stephen Sondheim), Longacre, Lunt-Fontanne, Majestic, Music Box, and Plymouth (Gerald Schoenfeld) as landmarks, as well as the Lyceum‘s interior. These actions brought the number of current or former Broadway theaters with landmark status to 26. Five more landmarks were designated by early 1988: the Ed Sullivan, Royale (Bernard B. Jacobs), Shubert, St. James, and Winter Garden.

Read more on NYCgo.com – NYC Theater 101, Wikivoyage Theater District and Wikipedia Theater District (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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