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A Booth Grows in Brooklyn

Date: Jul 10, 2008


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New York City’s most populous borough now has a TKTS booth to call its own. On Thursday, July 10 at 11 a.m., Theatre Development Fund opened a new TKTS Discount Booth in downtown Brooklyn, at 1 MetroTech Center, at the intersection of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue. A gala ribbon-cutting was led by Michael Weiss, executive director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District, along with officials from TDF, the borough of Brooklyn and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as Xanadu star Kerry Butler, a proud native of Bensonhurst, and cast members from Forbidden Broadway Dances With the Stars.

“Brooklyn has a dynamic downtown center, and a vibrant performing arts community,” said TDF executive director Victoria Bailey. “TKTS Downtown Brooklyn is in line with what TDF is about: making it possible for people to come to the theatre, as well as shining a spotlight on Brooklyn performing arts.”

For her part, a bubbly Butler recalled her many trips to the TKTS Discount Booth in Times Square. A proud mom of a small child herself, Butler said, “TKTS is such a great opportunity for families.”

Joan Millman, the state assemblywoman for the district, has been a strong and persistent advocate of TKTS having an outpost in her borough, and for good demographic reasons. “Brooklyn has a very young population,” Millman pointed out, “and if we want to keep theatre vital, what better way than to sell half-price tickets?”

The borough’s flamboyant president, Marty Markowitz, quipped, “Although it’s summer, this is a real spring awakening.” Referring to a previous TKTS booth that was open until 1992, Markowitz said, “For 16 years, residents of Brooklyn have had to travel to the outer borough of Manhattan to buy theatre tickets. Now they don’t have to leave Brooklyn!”

For her part, New York City’s culture czar Kate D. Levin said that “arts lovers now have another place to get their fix of culture, which is going on in all five boroughs.”

Weiss, while noting that TKTS Downtown Brooklyn has been a long time in the works, said the time couldn’t be better: construction of new hotels and condominiums will contribute even more to downtown Brooklyn’s booming resident and visiting population.

Confirming the enthusiasm of boosters were the first customers at TKTS Downtown Brooklyn. They included Josh Huttenbach, who lined up at 9:30 and was the first to purchase half-price tickets at the new booth (his choice: Legally Blonde, for himself and his daughter). Another pair of customers, Vanessa and Larena (also Legally Blonde patrons, incidentally), were tourists from San Francisco who found about the booth through the TDF web site.

One 40-year resident of Brooklyn Heights, who nabbed a pair of discounted tickets for Gypsy, sounded ecstatic that he’s now got a TKTS booth walking distance from his home.

“We used to go to the old Brooklyn booth on Cadman Plaza, and there was a farmer’s market on weekends,” this happy ticket-buyer recalled. “So we’d get our produce, and then we’d get our theatre tickets.”

Everything a New Yorker could need, now in one borough.

photo homepage: (l. to r.)David Yassky (City Council Member, 33rd District), Joan Millman (NYS Assemblywoman, 52nd District), Marty Markowitz (Brooklyn Borough President, Kerry Butler (star of Xanadu), Michael Weiss (Exec. Director of MetroTech BID), Kate D. Levin (Commissioner of Cultural Affairs),  Christina Bianco (Forbidden Broadway) David D. Holbrook (TDF Chairman).

above: Victoria Bailey, Executive Director TDF and  Michael Weiss, executive director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District