Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
Tourists aren't the only ones thrilled our Times Square TKTS Discount Booth is back this holiday season!
You may not think of Times Square as a place where everybody knows your name. But Ann Ramirez, a supervisor at TDF's TKTS Discount Ticket Booth under the red steps, remembers all the devotees. When TKTS reopened for business after being closed for 18 months due to the pandemic, Ramirez wasn't just thrilled to get back to work, she was overjoyed to see some familiar faces. Frequent customers are often surprised by the details she recalls, such as the shows they've seen and even their seating preferences. "You get to know their habits," she explains. "Some people don't care where they sit, and others need an aisle or certain section. Everyone's specifications are different."
Since she started selling same-day discount theatre tickets at TKTS almost a decade ago, Ramirez has formed special bonds with "my regulars," as she affectionately calls them. Many wave hello as they pass by, others have sent holiday cards and some have brought her chocolate. She even emails with a few, like Jim, whose medical career she's followed for years. "He first came when he was a resident," she says with pride, noting that he's now a doctor. The goodwill is reciprocated: During the Broadway shutdown, Jim emailed to ask how she was doing, even though he was working busy shifts at his hospital because of COVID-19.
Jim isn't the only one who kept in touch: Several regulars reached out to check in on Ramirez during the 18-month hiatus. "Even though they knew they couldn't get tickets for shows, they were just really concerned for my well-being," she says. "They also told me what they were doing—about the bread they made and the weight they gained!"
During the shutdown, Ramirez passed the time walking in Van Cortlandt Park near her Bronx home and taking virtual piano lessons. But she desperately missed in-person interactions. "After that year and a half off, whatever you took for granted, you just don't anymore," she says. "Especially people. We all need each other."
Recently, she enjoyed a happy reunion with a couple from the West Coast she had emailed with when Broadway was dark. "Alex and James flew in from San Francisco. We went outside the TKTS Booth, we hugged, it was amazing!" she says. Of course, she remembers the tickets they purchased. "They got Mrs. Doubtfire and Trevor: A New Musical. They always come back and tell me all about the shows they saw. They get so excited, and I get excited with them!"
Because of what we all collectively went through, Ramirez says she's sharing her email with regulars even more freely now. "I just missed my people!" she exclaims. "I appreciate them and I love them."
Planning on visiting the TKTS Booth this holiday season? Check out our TKTS tips, including how to use our fast-pass window!
Elyse Orecchio is TDF's Digital Content Manager. Follow her on Instagram and on Twitter at @elyseo. Follow TDF on Twitter at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Ann Ramirez at the TKTS Discount Ticket Booth in Times Square.