The Playgoer: Discount Booth to Nowhere

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Discount Booth to Nowhere

NYT veteran metro reporter Sam Roberts gives an update on the "progress" of the new Duffy Square TKTS booth. Who knew such a little patch of land would take on "Big Dig" proportions.

The development fund was diverted after 9/11. Meanwhile, the price tag increased to $14.5 million, $11.5 million of it from the city.....Four-hundred-and fifty-foot deep geothermal wells have been drilled in the middle of Times Square to provide air-conditioning. But groundbreaking was 17 months ago. The Empire State Building was finished in less than 14 months. How did a six-month project that was supposed to be completed last December turn into at least a two-year one?

Well, one of the contractors went bankrupt. And the innovative design has proved challenging to engineer. Glass panels and beams fabricated in Austria are finally being packed for shipment to New York to construct what Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, describes as “the Spanish Steps on steroids.”

Elsewhere Roberts likens the structure to "the fiberglass hull of a racing yacht." I still think of it as some conveyor belt off a cliff myself.

What it actually is is ­ "a glowing, re- glass 27-step staircase that, as one British engineer boasted, will be able to accommodate 1,500 'fat Americans.'"

Maybe that's why I'm getting that cattlefarm slaughterhouse vibe from it.

Until the (projected) completion in Spring '08, TKTS will continue to operate out of the driveway behind the Marriott Marquis hotel.

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