The NY Post gives you a TKTS update

So not only did it take a lot longer to get the new booth up and running, it also took a lot more cash.

And you helped pay for it.

Read more about the 19 million dollar booth here.

TKTS Update: A “comment” from the President (of the TSA)

If you don’t read the comments on my blogs, then you’re missing out.  I pride myself on having some serious smarty-pants readers (including the ones that disagree with me).

And if you don’t read them, you missed a comment from Times Square Alliance President, Tim Tompkins, about our search for more info on the TKTS booth.

It’s an important comment, so I’m pulling it out and putting it up on the mainstage.  Here’s what Tim had to say:

I want to apologize for one of our employees having hung up on someone who was asking questions about the Duffy Square project.  That wasn’t appropriate or professional.

If anyone has questions about the project, they can call Minerva Martinez at 212-452-5213.

There is no doubt the project has been a real challenge, partly because of bad luck (the lead glass contractor went into bankruptcy last year) and partly because it is a very ambitious and innovative project from an architectural and engineering point of view.  All that we ask is that people reserve judgment until it is completed; at that point we hope people will see it as an iconic and wonderful gathering place which allows people to enjoy both Times Square and the theater in new ways.

Thanks for the response, Tim, and for acting the way a President (and a Producer) should.  Taking responsibility, giving accurate information on where to get answers, and giving us a positive spin on a difficult situation is something we all can learn from.

When you’re in charge, something inevitably will go wrong.  Without a doubt.  Will you be ready?

Because how you react when things go wrong, is the most important thing to get right.

“I’ve got a rep to protect.”

Truer words have never been spoken, even if they are a quote from my favorite horrible movie sequel ever.

(Side note: Way back when, I tried to get the rights to this movie . . . twice.  I wanted to do a Rocky Horror-type late-nite version, and spoof the 1000-thread count sheet out of it.  Have the actors on bikes instead of motorcycles.  Have the audience do the sound effect of the bomb shelter alarm.  And you all know you could sing along with all the tunes, you cool riders you.  FYI, I was denied the rights and was told that the authors had NO interest in a stage version . . . ever.  Harsh, right?)

Back on topic . . .

Speaking of bomb shelters, I recently walked by the giant disaster area of a construction site in the middle of Times Square that will someday be the new TKTS booth.

Construction began two years ago, and was supposed to be completed just six months after that!  Yet it still remains unfinished (despite this blog that says it would be done last Saturday) and is the ugliest of eye sores in the most heavily trafficked area in our city.  If I was a NYC government leader, I’d be having a fit and fining someone up the you-know-where big time, because one of our main tourist attractions looks like a junk yard . . . and that’s gotta have an adverse effect on the people paying to visit our fair Times Square.

End rant.  Back to the point.


As I walked by the site, I noticed a sign posted on the ugly garbage bag-black walls, boasting the name of the “Construction Management” team of D. Haller, Inc.  It’s a business card, slapped right on to the side of the walls that have been up for a year and a half longer than they should have been.

In all fairness to D. Haller, I don’t really know what the hold up is.  Rumors in the industry are that the stairs were constructed overseas and were delivered late.  And winter weather had a part.

So maybe the year and a half delay, and the damage to the city’s brand, and the disruption to one of the theater industry’s chief economic infrastructures, isn’t D. Haller’s fault.  Or maybe it is?

The fact is, it doesn’t matter.

Cuz if your name is on something, whether it’s a construction site or a Broadway show, it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is.  It looks like yours.

So, If things go wrong and your stairs aren’t delivered on time or it’s too cold in the theater or your box office is rude to a customer, you better have the answers and a solution, or be able to stir up some sheet in order to find one.

Otherwise, you’ll never have to worry about producing a sequel to anything.

Let’s have some fun.  As a little test, I’m going to call D. Haller in the AM and find out what in the name of Michelle Pfeiffer is going on.  Tune in tomorrow.  I’ll let you know exactly what they say.

Will that be cash or cash?

You won’t hear that line when you’re standing in line at the TKTS booth anymore, if the current test taking place at the South St. Seaport location is successful.

Yep, that’s right, the “trailer” (as it’s commonly referred to), will take credit cards when the new location opens in Duffy Square (a year and a half behind schedule).

My response to this adoption of credit card technology?  Welcome to 1983, TKTS booth!

Ok, sarcasm aside, I am thrilled that thousands of theatergoers will finally be able to pay with plastic instead of paper.  But why the decades of delay?  This is a perfect example of our industry lagging behind the technological times, and suffering for it.

In Influence (my favorite sales book of all time), Cialdini discusses credit cards in depth, and cites studies that demonstrate that just accepting credit cards and displaying a credit card logo got consumers to spend more money . . . in cash!  People spend more when they use credit cards, it’s that simple (NYC cabbies take  heed – you will get  bigger tips, so stop telling me your machine is broken).  Why do you think cruise lines don’t accept cash on board but only let you put expenses on your cruise charge card (one of my employees is on a cruise right now – I should ask for her expert opinion as to whether she would have ordered that many Daiquiris if she paid in cash).

Add that to the zillion other reasons people like to use credit cards (postpone payment, get rewards, avoid ATM fees, loss prevention, fraud protection), and it’s no brainer that it crushes the few potential concerns the naysayers have had:  transaction times might be longer (I’d like to see data on that, because it seems issuing changing and having a buyer dig out bills would take longer than a swipe), there is a cost (happily borne by the shows and TDF can probably turn a deserved profit), and my favorite . . . that paying with a credit card is too easy for the consumer and that they should have to go through some inconvenience to get this discount (as if standing in line for hours isn’t enough).

Here’s my response:  When people want to give you money for your product . . . take it!

Why make it more difficult?  Especially when you’re selling a product in an extremely competitive and economically challenged market.  Selling bottles of water in the desert and there ain’t an oasis in sight?  You can restrict your method of payments to gold bullions or tea leaves for all I care.  But selling perishable inventory without any other major revenue streams?

In 2008, the consumer’s experience and the ease of that experience is vital.  We can’t be snobs anymore and expect them to pick us over the countless other entertainment options in this city (it was only in the 80s that we started allowing people to know their seat location before making their purchase.  Can you believe that?  Who do we think we are?)

We need to get over ourselves.

In 2008, the consumer is in “charge”.