If you ever find yourself running late for a Broadway show, don’t know the address of the theatre, and can’t look it up on your phone, there’s no need to panic. Just walk to Duffy Square, the pedestrian plaza just north of the statue of George M. Cohan on 46th Street. There, you can find your theater on the giant map embedded in the concrete.
The “Spotlight on Broadway” Map is 28 feet long and plots the locations of the 40 Broadway theaters that were in operation at the time the map was created in 2013. The map is made of gray granite and stainless steel, and it’s not necessarily complete, because performance venues open or shut down every so often.
The blocky, stylized map is part of the larger Spotlight on Broadway project, which includes an interactive website with videos that tell stories about the theaters. The map was designed by Doyle Partners and Local Projects, in partnership with the Norwegian architectural firm SnØhetta, and was also part of a larger effort to rebuild public areas in the Times Square area.
Because Broadway theaters tend to be named after theatrical luminaries, the map also serves as a beautiful memorial to some of the greatest talents ever to work on Broadway, including composer Richard Rodgers, composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, playwright August Wilson, actress and philanthropist Vivian Beaumont, and caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.
The cartographic installation also gives an aerial overview of shape of the Broadway district—which may seem huge and sprawling from ground level, but is actually quite densely packed. Most of the theaters are between Broadway and 8th Avenue and 40th and 54th Streets, with some very noticeable outliers, like the Hirschfeld (west of 8th) and the Beaumont, way up on 65th Street in Lincoln Center.
Know Before You Go
The map is in the pedestrian plaza in Duffy Square, so walking up Broadway or 7th Avenue to 46th Street is the best way to get there.