Cyndi Explains [How to get cheap tickets on Broadway]

photo2

I’ve had a lot of emails, comments and Facebook messages about the Broadways shows I have attended during my time in New York on this trip and previous trips, and, in particular, how I manage to get cheap tickets to Broadway shows – so in this post I am going to share with you how you can see more shows in New York, and spend less money. These are not ‘secrets’ – but they’re things that the average tourist doesn’t often know about.

Lotteries

Broadway Lotteries are generally held by shows that sell out daily, or come close to it.

Lotteries are simple – think of them as a raffle that you don’t pay to enter, but you pay if you win! You turn up at the theatre during an allocated 30 minute period (usually between 2 1/2 and 2 hours before the show, although some are between 2 hours and 90 minutes) and fill in a form with you name, the number of tickets you want (you can choose from 1 or 2) and sometimes contact details like a phone number or email. Then at the end of the 30 minute period (ie. 2 hours before the show) winners are drawn from the barrel/bag/hat, and if you’re lucky enough to be drawn, you get up to 2 tickets for $25-37 per ticket (depending on the show). Most shows sell between 16 and 26 lottery tickets. Seats are often good (for Wicked and The Book of Mormon they sell the entire front row as lottery) but can sometimes be restricted/obstructed view. Important notes: You MUST have a photo ID ON YOUR PERSON to be able to claim lottery tickets if you win. Some lotteries only take cash for tickets. You are entering the lottery to win tickets for the NEXT performance. If you attend the Wednesday 12pm lottery, the tickets you win will be for the 2pm show THAT DAY.

At the time of posting (March 11, 2014) shows on Broadway that have lotteries are Wicked, Matilda, Kinky Boots, Newsies, If/Then, The Book of Mormon & Rocky.

Rush, Student Rush & Age-limit Rush

Some shows that do not run lotteries sell ‘Rush’ tickets. Rush tickets are sold when the box office opens (generally 10am) on the day of the show, subject to availability and range from $27 to $40 each. For popular shows lines can start forming as early as 5am for rush tickets.

Important notes:Shows that have a Student Rush require a valid Student ID. Shows that have an Age-Limit Rush require a photo ID with birthdate. Some shows have a 1-ticket per person limit, some a 2-ticket per person limit.

At the time of posting (March 11, 2014) shows on Broadway that have General Rush tickets are After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful, The Bridges of Maddison County, Bullets Over Broadway, Chicago, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia, No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot, Once & Pippin.

At the time of posting (March 11, 2014) shows on Broadway that have Student Rush are All The Way, Cinderella, Jersey Boys, Outside Mullingar & Rock of Ages.

At the time of posting (March 11, 2014) shows on Broadway that have an Age-Limit Rush are A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Under 35).

Standing Room

Standing Room tickets are harder to get because they are usually only available if the show is sold out. There’s no definite way to predict in advance whether a performance will sell out. One Standing Room ticket is sold per person, and patrons need to stand in numbered spaces the width of a seat, which are usually located at the back of the orchestra.

Standing Room works in the same way as Rush tickets – those wanting Standing Room tickets form a line. Standing Room tickets are often sold following a lottery. Tickets range from $25 to $40.

At the time of posting (March 11, 2014) shows on Broadway that often sell Standing Room tickets are The Book of Mormon (sold after lottery), Chicago (at box office on days that the show is sold out), Mamma Mia (only when show is sold out, available at the box office 2 hours before curtain), Matilda (only when show is sold out, available at the box office when it opens), Newsies (only when sold out, sold after lottery), The Phantom of the Opera (when sold out).

TKTS

The Theatre Development Fund runs the TKTS booths in Times Square, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn. Tickets are sold for shows at 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% off the full ticketed price. The Times Square sells tickets for Matinees and Evening shows on the day of the show. SSS and Brooklyn sell tickets for Matinees the day before, and Evening shows the day of.

The booth at Times Square is located under the red steps, at Broadway and 47th Street. It opens at 10am-2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays for matinee tickets and 11am-3pm for Sunday matinee shows. For evening shows, the Times Square booth opens from 3pm-8pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; from 2pm-8pm on Tuesday, and from 3pm-7pm on Sunday. You can find more information on opening hours of all 3 booths here. Which shows and tickets they have for sale varies from day to day, hour to hour. There are boards at each of the booths that show what is on sale, and for what percentage off. The TKTS website has a “live” board online that shows what is currently on sale at each booth (or, if the booth is closed, which shows have most recently been ‘on the boards’). Find out what is on sale at TKTS Times Square, TKTS South Street Seaport & TKTS Brooklyn.

More detailed information on the Rush and Lottery policies for each show currently on Broadway can be found on the playbill.com website here.

Posted in 2014, Advice, Broadway Shows, Experiences, New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Photography classes, Part 2 [and the products]

I took another photography class today. I was torn between getting out and about on my own and playing around, and taking another class as soon as I could to get the most of out Mindy’s teaching… and decided that I’d take another class today so that I could get some more tips, learn more about following my intuition and put into practise what I have learnt from Mindy while I am in this amazing city.

I won’t say much other than if you are ever in NYC and have an interest in photography, take one of Mindy’s classes.

Other than that, I really just want to share my favourite photos that I took during the class! Enjoy!

Beggar Woman

Beggar Woman

Brightness

Brightness

Cellphone Angels

Cellphone Angels

Dirty Pipe

Dirty Pipe

Table Twenty-Seven

Table Twenty-Seven

Cupcake Imperfection

Cupcake Imperfection

Posted in 2014, Experiences, Learning Something New, New York, Photography, Photos | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Go Sugar Crazy [Top 5 places to go for CANDY in NYC!]

I’ve put together a list of my favourite 5 places to buy candy in New York City! Just don’t tell my dentist! Enjoy!

Rock Candy at Dylan's Candy Bar

Rock Candy at Dylan’s Candy Bar

5. The Sweet Life: 63 Hester St, New York (Lower East Side)
A cute, old-style candy store with candy in jars! They also have crazy 5lb (2.2kg) gummy bears, and stock some sugar-free and kosher candy! Open 10am-6:30pm Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm Sunday (closed Saturday).

4. FAO Schweetz: 5th Avenue (59th St), New York (Midtown East)
Located inside the infamous FAO Schwartz toy store, this store-inside-a-store is an obvious money making scheme of someone who realised that kids wouldn’t let their parents leave the store without letting them buy some candy (and if you have a stroller, you have to walk THROUGH the candy section to get to the elevator). Another large overpriced “pay by weight” candy selection, FAO Schweetz also boasts amusing giant sized candy boxes (packed with, I assume, smaller boxes of candy inside). Open 10am-7pm Sun-Thurs, 10am-8pm Fri-Sat.

3. M&M’s World: 1600 Broadway (49th St), New York (Midtown West)
If you’re a fan of M&M’s you’ll want to come here. This place is 3 floors of everything M&M’s – every time of merchandise you can imagine, and a floor of “mix your own” M&M’s that come in every colour of the rainbow and more, and all the different flavours (including peanut, pretzel, mint, coconut and raspberry). The candy can be pricey, so go easy on the self-serve machines. Open 9am-midnight, 7 days.

2. Economy Candy: 108 Rivington St, New York (Lower East Side)
This is the place that I visited on the Food on Foot tour that I took on my visit to New York in 2010. It is literally crammed with candy from floor to ceiling, something you have to see to believe. You can pretty much get every gummy animal under the sun here. Scratch that – you can pretty much get any candy you have ever eaten here. Do you. You know you want to. Open 10am-6pm Mon & Sat, 9am-6pm Sun, Tues-Fri.

1. Dylan’s Candy Bar: 1011 3rd Avenue (60th St), New York (Midtown East)
Dylan’s is a candy shop on crack, owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph. The street-level floor has masses of “pay by weight” candy. The lower level has fudge, chocolates, stationary, gift ideas and souvenirs. You can buy mini candy jars with your name on them (if you have a common name… not Cyndi) and fill them with your favourite candy. My personal favourite – rock candy! The prices are high, but it’s worth it for the experience. Dylan’s is on my “to do list” every time I’m in the city! They also have a big display where celebrities have come in and filled a container with their favourite candy and signed it. And for the grown ups, there is also a bar/cafe upstairs that serves alcoholic candy-flavoured drinks… Open 10am-9pm Mon-Thurs, 10am-11pm Fri-Sat, 11am-9pm Sun. Bar open after 3pm Thurs-Sun. Cafe hours vary.

Taylor Swift's picks!

Taylor Swift’s picks!

Honorable mentions: 
Hershey’s didn’t make the list because, frankly, I think their chocolate is disgusting, but they do exist, and their store, although smaller than M&M’s World, has it’s place in the Theatre District. Come here if you want Reeses Peanut Butter Cup merchandise! (1593 Broadway/48th St) Open 9am-midnight daily.
Toys R Us, although not a candy store on it’s own, has a large selection of Wonka brand candy (nerds, gobstoppers, taffy). (1514 Broadway/44th St) Opens at 9am Saturday, 10am all other days. Closes at 10pm Sun-Thurs, 11pm Fri-Sat.

Posted in 2014, Advice, Candy, Chocolate, Food, Kid Things, New York, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting my camera into manual mode [My very first photography class]

Five months ago I became the owner of my first DSLR camera. And in those 5 months I have taken a handful of ‘nice’ photos using the camera on its automatic setting. But that’s it.

Six weeks in NYC is a long time to be here and fill all your ‘spare time’ with touristy things, so I decided that rather than the usual bus tours I wanted to do something a bit different while I was here, and so I looked into photography tours. Something didn’t ‘feel’ quite right about marching around the city with a group of others and being told where to stand to get the best shot of the Empire State Building, just to create a cookie-cutter image the same as the person next to you, so when I came across The Art of Intuitive Photography website I became a little bit excited, and quickly bit the proverbial bullet and signed up for the beginners class.

The class was taken by Mindy Véissid, who was wonderful. There were only 2 of us, and the class went for 3 hours. As someone who had never used a camera out of automatic mode, I was surprised with how quickly I picked up what I needed to do to get a decent shot, and it actually made sense!

The small amount of ‘theory’ that Mindy ‘taught’ us was backed up with practical exercises where we took some photos in the immediate area. I think Mindy was amused by my almost childlike excitement when I realised what the camera could do with just a few clicks of a wheel!

One of the photos I took in my photography class with Mindy

One of the photos I took in my photography class with Mindy

Mindy works ‘intuitively’ rather than mathematically, following her intuition to capture moments, rather than a formula to get a technically ‘good’ photo. If you are in NYC and have an interest in photography I would encourage you to have a look at her website and what she is about. Now that I have taken the beginners class, I am already feeling more confident with my camera, and am looking forward to taking one or two of Mindy’s ‘intuitive’ photography classes before we leave NYC.

Post-class photos from our apartment!

Post-class photos from our apartment!

Posted in 2014, Adventures, Experiences, Learning Something New, New York, Photography, Photos, Special Events, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New York winter, and my first AirBNB experience [Weeks 1 & 2...]

Before we left Australia, we organised an apartment to stay in for our first week in the city. Once we arrived and were able to have a look at some other places, we’d make a decision on whether to stay put, or to move on.

Our first week we spent staying in a duplex apartment in Chelsea, that we not-so-legally rented from a pair of girls on AirBNB. It wasn’t until we arrived in NYC and were told by the girls to not tell their building ‘Super’(intendant) that we were paying guests, but rather ‘friends’, that I looked up the laws on people renting out their apartments in NYC. Nonetheless, the girls were nice. Their duplex apartment (meaning it was 2 stories) was just blocks from Herald Square and the Empire State Building, and a nice base for all the ‘touristy’ things New York City has to offer.

My bedroom in the Chelsea apartment

My bedroom in the Chelsea apartment

We spent the days of our first week sleeping in, and afternoons and evenings wandering the local area; being only 10-15 blocks from pretty much every Broadway theatre was something my dreams were made of. But we felt it quickly, and it didn’t feel as easy as it should be. 3 of the ‘bedrooms’ (2 of which were created from a large living space, which had only curtains, not doors, as well as walls that didn’t go right to the ceiling – another NYC apartment law thing) were downstairs, which meant constant carrying of children up and down. The ground-level apartment was handy for going out, no lifts or stairs, but was dark during the day, which didn’t help us to adapt to the time difference as quickly as we should have. There were too many “little things” that bugged us, and we decided to look elsewhere.

Fast forward a week, and we are now staying at an apartment hotel on the Upper East Side; further from the hustle and bustle of Midtown, but 23 floors up in a 3-bedroom/3-bathroom wonderland. It’s basic, but homely, and most-of all, kid-friendly. Times Square is 40 blocks south (and a few avenue blocks over). There’s a subway station a few blocks away, or if we’re feeling lazy (or just plain cold) the doorman will hail a taxi right to the front door. We have a grocery store 3 minutes walk away, and the 86th St shops only 7 minutes further. And the views are gorgeous.

My bedroom in the Upper East Side apartment

My bedroom in the Upper East Side apartment

The weather has been… wintry. We arrived the day after a snowstorm (and the day after a lot of flights into and out of JFK had been cancelled) and since then daily highs have averaged around 4 degrees, and have ranged from -4 to 12. We have proverbially shivered through some cold nights (but not really, thanks to good heating) of -7 and -11 degrees, and some cold days. Yesterday and today in particular were cold ones – I stepped out of the theatre last night at 9:30pm and it was -8 degrees… more on that later though.

The view from my bedroom window

The view from my bedroom window

The snow melted away a few days after we arrived, and now only small piles of grey ice remain to remind us of what has been. A new storm is forecast for the coming weekend and tipped to bring 6 inches of snow to New York City. The weather has stopped me from venturing to Central Park, but after the next snowfall I plan to head there to take some photos!

New York snow is UGLY after a few days!

New York snow is UGLY after a few days!

Posted in 2014, Crazy Weather, Holidays, New York, Photos, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m baaaaaaccccckkkk [New York, New York... it's a hell of a town]

I’m back! In the USA that is! Crazy, right?

I haven’t blogged in a year, and life has been pretty insane! I’ve spent the last year focusing on uni and I’m FINALLY 3 subjects (count ‘em, 1… 2… 3…!) away from graduating with my Bachelor of Primary Education. That funky flat topped graduation hat is only inches out of my reach and when I close my eyes I can visualise myself in it!

But, that said, I’ve recently had that all too familiar itching to come back to the land of the free. And very recently I was offered what some would consider a pretty damn good opportunity – the opportunity to return to the US with an Australian family, set up camp in New York City for a few weeks, and help out with some gorgeous little boys. Who could say no to that?

We left Australia a week ago, and have spent the week in to an apartment in Chelsea, just 10 minutes walk from Herald Square and the Empire State Building. This weekend we are moving up to the Upper East Side into another apartment for the rest of our stay, close to Central Park.

The view from the corner of 33rd & 8th, 3 blocks from our Chelsea apartment!

The view from the corner of 33rd Street & 8th Avenue, 3 blocks from our Chelsea apartment!

The weather has been cold, wet and snowy – all that you’d expect of winter. A huge storm blew through the day before we arrived, so getting out of our car after arriving from the airport we had to climb over snow drifts to get to the sidewalk. The day after we arrived it snowed again – not enough to cause any major hassles, but enough that when I purposely went walking in it I had to pull up the hood of my coat and walk with my face down to stop myself from being sprayed in the face and slipping over.

We were surprised today by a bit of a warm snap (7C) along with rain, which in turn made a large majority of the snow melt, and created huge puddles everywhere – not great when the only shoes you brought were sneakers and thongs! The “warm” (in comparison to the high of -2C of Saturday) weather is going to continue through this weekend, and then next week we’ll swap it back for days that don’t get above freezing and nights where the temperature drops down as far as -12c (eek)!

Out walking in the snow!

Out walking in the snow!

It’s great to be back, and this time around I feel a little less ‘tourist’ and a little more ‘at home’. It’s been more than 3 years since my first visit to New York that I blogged about, and I’m excited to re-visit those things that I squished into 4 days here, and discover all sorts of new things that NYC has to offer!

Posted in 2014, Adventures, Crazy Weather, Holidays, Life, New York, Travel, Uni | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

PREX902 – Week One

I had forgotten how tiring prac can be. I AM SO TIRED.

I’ve been at my “new” school just over a week now, and I wanted to reflect on my professional experience this time around, which I didn’t find the time to do last time around.

Day 1 was a bit of a nightmare. I was freakishly tired, had freakishly sore feet half an hour into the day (bad shoe choice) and at the end of the day, my supervising teacher (ST) told me that the next day I needed to get up more, walk around the class, interact with the kids and assert my authority. Eek. I was scared.

I won’t lie – I was scared of him. His confidence in the classroom, his joking manner with the kids… and the fact that he is a he, that he’s male. On top of that, his maths lessons are amazing.

Now 8 days in, I feel SO much better. On day 2, I got out of the chair (with half a dozen blister bandaids, and more comfortable shoes on my feet) and made my presence more known in the classroom. And I haven’t stopped.

Yesterday my ST told me that he is really happy with how I am going – that I have blown away his worry from the first day that I’d just sit quietly in a chair at the back of the room (HA!) and that even though he has been teaching the lessons, in the last few days he’s felt like we have been team teaching, which is great. He also told me that he has no worried about my ability to handle the class. He has faith in me. Which is great.

Except that I haven’t taught yet. And that’s about to begin.

I’m working in a 5/6 class, and there are 3 other 5/6 classes in the school. The 4 teachers make up the 5/6 team, and they work pretty closely together. This is something new for me, as in my last school there were two Year 3 teachers, but they programmed their lessons pretty independantly of each other, and did their “own thing”. In this team, the lessons are written by one person, and taught by all 4. My ST had a great background in teaching maths, so he writes the maths units of work. Another teacher writes reading. Another writes the writing lessons… and so on.

So next week I have not just one, but two big hurdles to leap. Not only do I have to start teaching reading and writing (literacy) lessons written by someone else, but I have to write a whole unit on multiplication and division… WHICH THE OTHER THREE 5/6 TEACHERS WILL USE IN THEIR CLASSROOMS. Eek. A bit nervous about that. Talk about pressure!

I am really loving this prac, and the time is flying. I have done 8 days, and only have 12 to go. That is crazy! And makes me a little bit sad. It’s definitely times like these that I realise how much I want to get into a classroom and have my own class. How much I was 27 little voices chanting “Good Morning Miss Stewart” to me 5 days a week, for 40 weeks of the year.”

The kids in my class are great. I am loving being with them. Being there has definitely taught me a few things, not only about teaching, but I have learnt how to spell definitely correctly, after 28 years! What an accomplishment! The staff are all lovely, and I have enjoyed the larger staff, and the mixing of P-2 and 3-6 staff in one staffroom, unlike my last prac where there were separate staffrooms for the junior and senior school on the split site.

I’m looking forward to teaching next week. I did my last prac in a Year 3 class, which I LOVED, and though that’s where I wanted to be, but I am loving Year 5 and 6 just as much, if not more!

Posted in 2013, PREX, Uni | Tagged | 1 Comment