New York, New York


- Credit: Archant

As Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett both sang in their famous duet, ‘New York, New York, it’s a helluva town’. And the sentiment remains – certainly as far as us Brits go. More Britons head for the USA than any other country and the Big Apple is still our number one destination when we head across the big pond.

A lot of Americans will tell you that New York is a different country, and it is as much a legend as it is a location for most visitors. That legend is all about the razzmatazz of the city’s 24-hour energy, the hutzpah of the locals, the hot dog sellers, the yellow taxis, the Irish policemen and that one long street that shouts New York more than any other – Broadway.

The city’s theatre district is almost as famous as New York itself thanks to the legendary shows that have premiered there and the equally iconic stars that have sashayed their way up the red carpets over the years.

In fact, Broadway runs for the entire length of Manhattan Island, from the northern tip right down to Battery Park in the south. But it is about halfway down, in the area south of Central Park, that you will find all the theatres, mainly grouped around Broadway itself.

In terms of New York’s theatre and dance, whether it’s a blockbuster musical or something truly experimental, it is all neatly contained in this box, and if you stick to Broadway itself, you can’t go wrong.

And there is good reason for this being the theatrical capital of the world. The figures show that nearly 250,000 Brits go and see a show on Broadway every 12 months, but we account for only 2% of the total number of visitors to the greatest shows in town, which gives you some idea of just how popular theatre is in New York.

All of which could lead you to imagine that it might be a little hectic getting the tickets you want for the shows you want on the right night. The answer, as ever, is to book ahead and now that is easier than ever before thanks to Broadway Inbound an organisation set up to promote the phenomena that is Broadway.

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Fortunately, things have been made easier by the bringing together of a group of 22 shows and the famous Metropolitan Opera under the Broadway Collection – all of which can be booked in the UK before you leave to guarantee you get to see the shows you want.

Naturally, one very good reason for heading down to Broadway is to catch a show that hasn’t been seen in the UK yet. But at the same time some of our best-loved shows are also currently proving real hits on Broadway, such as Phantom of the Opera and Matilda – so you could end up watching a show that’s big over here and is now, big over there as well.

Whatever you see, you’ll come away with the applause ringing in your ears, the nightlife of Broadway swirling around you and the knowledge that you’ve just seen a helluva show in a helluva town.