If you ever happen to find yourself running late for a Broadway show, but don’t know the address of the theatre, and for some reason can’t look it up on your phone, there’s no need to panic. Just walk to the middle of Times Square, to Duffy Square. There, between McDonalds and American Eagle, just north of the statue of George M. Cohan on 46th Street, you can find your theatre on the giant map embedded into the traffic island.
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 one hopes it is alterable, not only because Broadway theaters have their names changed every so often, but because a 41st theater, the Hudson Theatre, is set to officially open in the winter of 2017).
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, partnering with a Norwegian architectural firm called 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.
For people who love to attend Broadway shows, the map not only tells where the theaters are, but gives a great impression of the shape of the Broadway theatre 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.