First of a series

NEW YORK – New York 2024 is like any other year – the sights, the sounds, the scents are very familiar and welcoming. Every time I visit, it’s a happy reunion, filled with anticipation of good times.

Times Square, in the heart of the Theatre District, is my hub, my home, my hideaway. It’s plain fun to sit (there’s a bunch of seats and tables) and soak in the atmosphere. It’s teeming  with a life of its own.

The TKTS booth, home of the discounted show tickets.

I like it all.

To me, Times Square is a circus of cabbies, buses, vehicles, and an occasional  speeding motorcycle, accompanied by never-ending foot traffic, parading and pedaling in never-ending movement. Visitors check out the discounted Broadway shows at the TKTS booth. Hawkers sell cheap T-shirts. Vendors prepare boiled hot dogs in buns, with the strange odor of gas fumes mixed with snacks creating a moveable feast.

The Lion King” rules over all the productions,

Look up and around, and neon marquees of Broadway shows – like the durable and delightful ”The Lion King” — competing  for attention with oversized ads of fashion and ticker tape of news headlines dancing in electric billboards.

Yep, the undisputed hot ticket remains “The Lion King,” posting $2-million-dollar grosses week after week at the Minskoff Theatre. Can you feel the loot tonight?

The current buzz is that Alicia Keyes “Hell’s Kitchen,” featuring her music (she’s not in the show), is a leading contender for the Tony Awards later this month. The show focuses on that  NY region where creative life surges among the young and the eager.

Eddie Redmayne: star power.

A few theaters possess star-power this summer. Eddie Redmayne, who won an Olivier Award in London for his portrayal of the Emcee in “Cabaret,” stars in this revival, which now boasts a longer title: “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.” The production also is hosting a first, a 75-minute pre-show party with songs, dances and expansive liquors to launch a party before the 8 p.m. curtain at the August Wilson Theatre. And over at the Hudson Theatre, Daniel Radcliff (“Harry Potter”) and Jonathan Gross (“Hamilton”) have been extended in Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” so many times, but the show finally rolls to a close in July.

If you remember the Palace Theatre, it just reopened with “Ben Platt at the Palace Theatre” as the premiere act, in a limited 18-performance running through June 15. The Palace, which has a storied past (with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Bette Midler, Judy Garland, Diana Ross, Shirley MacLaine and Elvis Presley gracing the stage over the decades), is nestled below a new hotel, Tempo by Hilton, a curiosity that has spacious rooms but no closets (there are pegs to hang your clothes), no restaurants but a grab-and-go snack bar, and spectacular views depending on where your room is situated, at $300 to $600 a night. I wanted to give this hotel a whirl, but my wife said no, but we’ll be comfortable ensconced at nearby Hotel Edison, on W. 47th St., offering easy access to all Broadway theaters

Just as I did last year, I’ve rented a power wheelchair to the mix of my walker and my cane. Navigating New York’s challenging sidewalks and roadways will require caution and effort.

Wheelchairs require special attention; crossing streets mean you have to be certain you’re at a corner, where pathways include that dip to the road; never jaywalk where curbs lack that tilt for the chair. I’ve checked with all of the theaters I’ll be heading to, and most have accessible seats for the handicapped, and the venues provide help to remove and store chairs or walkers till intermission and/or exit time. So it’s possible to go show-hopping, if you have the inclination and funds. Pssst: tickets are slightly expensive at a few productions, but prices are not like the years when Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton”  and  Hugh Jackman in “The Music Man” were the rage, spiraling ticket costs.

For a week, I’ll take in a bunch of shows, navigating Times Square and its challenges: crowds, uneven roads, theaters with some ADA considerations. For those who don’t know, I became walker-worthy after I was hospitalized for two weeks in Queen’s last summer. Didn’t realize that being horizontal for two weeks would make your legs go on vacation, impacting mobility, or lack thereof, when walking.

On a trip, like my current one, the wheelchair is an option for distant outings, but after last year’s attempt to board a city bus (ever tried parking a chair, while the rest of the bus patrons watch?), I will only use the chair for sidewalks and streets. If you can handle a chair, go for it; no license required, just patience and guts to tool around the city (with limitations). Let your confidence decide whether you can handle the wheelchair, or if you’re fearful, the walker is a good buddy; you just will take longer to get to your destination.

Oh, there’s always a cab or an Uber or Lyft…and walkers can board, too.

Trust me; the worst thing to do on a trip is to remain secluded in your hotel because of fear. If I can do it, you can too, whatever your environment or destination. Be cautious but be mobile.

And that’s Show Biz…


  1. What a helpful, hopeful blog, Wayne!

    Also: Your review of “Tootsie” was right on. Although the lyrics were often a challenge to follow, the production at DHT was excellent and some of the voices were terrific, as was the comedic timing. And yay to the costumes!

  2. It’s always uplifting and inspiring to see you challenge yourself by heading to NYC. My 94-year-old dad has mobility issues and uses a walker or cane, depending on the situation each time. Like you, he travels because he doesn’t want be at home. Travel inspires him. Reading your tips on navigating the streets of NYC is valuable as my dad uses a wheel chair at times when the legs need a break. Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences. Enjoy your time in the Big Apple!

  3. Thanks for your note. I wished myself some strength and positive thoughts about a trip to New York to help my wellness momentum, and here I am! Hoping to make every moment count. Nudge your dad a skosh; if he travels in a positive mindset, he could have a nice time. My blessings to you … and your dad. Go for it.

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