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The Year in Architecture


Our New Front Stoop

Every evening, a few minutes before curtain, the scarlet stairs above the new TKTS booth offer the best view of the Times Square migrations—high enough to rise above the herd, low enough to absorb the hum. It took $19 million, nine years, and an endless supply of recrimination to build the fiberglass shell for the discount-tickets booth and the glass bleachers above, but the result looks like a sudden stroke of theater. During the day, the structure, designed by the Australian architects John Choi and Tai Roipha, together with Perkins Eastman, mutes its glamour and functions as a communal stoop. No ticket necessary—anyone can find a glossy place to rest in the middle of the frantic bow tie. In the evening, the staircase dons a bit of magic. Floor lights come on, giving off a red glow that gathers the bobbing taillights of passing traffic and flatters tired features. Then the steps become an outdoor stage, hosting a perpetual pageant of passersby. The unwitting cast sweeps down onto an expanded plaza, parts around the statue of Father Duffy, and sashays onto Broadway. The red stairs have democratized that great privilege of the stars: the dramatic entrance.

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