If you asked a NYer where Broadway was, they’d probably point you to the street that runs the length of Manhattan.
If you said, “No, where’s the Broadway they talk about in books,” they’d probably look at you funny, maybe point you to Times Square and say that’s where most of the theaters are.
They’d have to explain that Broadway doesn’t have an exact physical destination.
Which is why I think it’s time we give it one.
I did something I’ve always wanted to do this weekend and made the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, two tourist destinations that do a very good job of telling you exactly where you are and making a tourist attraction out of it.
How do they do it? The old-fasioned way. With a sign.
The Hollywood sign is one of the most famous landmarks in the LA area. It screams from the hills that you have entered the land of the silver screen. It even has a website! And on that website the sign is described by Hugh Hefner as “not simply a sign but a symbol of inspiration.”
In Vegas, when you’re driving down the strip towards the man-made mecca in the desert, you are first greeted by the infamous Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign which was put up in 1959. It even has a Wikipedia entry! And more importantly it has a place where you can stop your car, get out, and have your picture taken next to it.
On Broadway . . . we’ve got . . . eh . . . uh . . . huh.
We don’t seem to have a symbol or sign that we’ve entered the theatrical capital of the world. Sure there are street signs that say Broadway, and there’s the statue of George M. Cohan in Duffy Square, and maybe even the Red Steps and the TKTS booth (but I’m not sure we want a discount destination representing where Broadway begins). But nothing that says, “Broadway is here!”
So if we don’t have one, maybe we should make one. Maybe it’s a marquis that sits in Times Square. Or a lit sign on 42nd St. Or maybe the sign is written in the sidewalks (which reminds me of this blog I wrote about our own Walk of Fame).
Is this cheap? Or even practical? Probably not.
But I guarantee that we’d have a ton of tourists taking their pictures in front of it, and it might even inspire a few more to actually take in a show while they are in town.
And maybe, if we’re lucky, it would even have its own Wikipedia page.
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