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1/8/10
$20 Ticket Detective: New LC Discount Booth
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Today’s blog is the first installment of my 2010 resolution to cover only New York performances for $20 or less per ticket. Happily, this SundayArts column coincides with the opening of one of the most important parts of the revamped Lincoln Center: a discount-ticket booth, located in the same spot on Columbus Avenue/Broadway/63rd Street where a variety of other open public spaces previously failed miserably.

The ticket booth at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (as the space is officially known) opened on January 7 at noon, and offers same-day discounted tickets to live performances at Lincoln Center, much like TKTS does for theater tickets. To celebrate its opening, there’s a “$20 for 20 Days” deal going on from January 7 to 26. After the promotional period is over, the space will sell day-of tickets, as available, at a 25 percent or 50 percent discount to all Lincoln Center resident organizations.

I stopped by during the first hour of its operation, when there was a line of about 40 or 50 people waiting to buy tickets. If I hadn’t already bought tickets to Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show Wishful Drinking at Studio 54 for tonight (a birthday present for my sister), I definitely would have snapped up some of what was available today: $20 tickets to tonight’s performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the New York City Ballet, South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater with Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot (wouldn’t mind seeing that again), and the Big Apple Circus in Damrosch Park. The bathrooms (second floor, unisex) have spiffy new water-saving flush devices; a Lincoln Center spokesperson told me that LC is also pursuing LEED certification for the space. For a documented cheapster like me, it’s not hard to get excited about this discount-ticket booth, but I also like the space itself, with its huge live-greenery artwork on two walls (how do they get it to grow up there??) and the Tom Colicchio ‘wichcraft food at the café counter. There’s wi-fi, too, so theoretically I could have written this column while sipping coffee and munching a grilled-cheese sandwich. Today, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra played in the atrium as part of the opening-day festivities.

Early in 2009, Alex Ross wrote a one-week seven-concerts-for-under-$100 column, and the New Yorker (where Ross is staff music critic) also published a fairly comprehensive listing of places in New York City where you can buy discounted or low-price tickets. Both are useful to keep on hand. To learn more about ongoing $20 “cheap tickets” coverage at SundayArts, see the inaugural entry on January 5 outlining the series.

Below, check out some pictures from the event.

The vertical garden:

vertical gardenOutside the Columbus Avenue entrance:

Outside the Entrance

The ticket line:

ticket line

New ‘wichcraft cafe:

'wichcraft

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.