Monday, July 5, 2010

How to: Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park is one of my favorite NY events because it encompasses so many essentials of a true NY experience - waiting in line for senseless hours, meeting strangers/making new friends, Central Park, picnics, great theater and acting, celebrities...and of course, FREE. (see our fun HERE, from last year with Anna Hathaway!)

This year, the two shows are "The Merchant of Venice" (ft. Al Pacino!) and "Winter's Tale". For schedule and more information, click HERE.

Today, July 5, 2010, Teresa, Cameron, Melissa, and I braved the crowds once again and came out victorious. Since I have 3 years experience under my belt now, thought it would be helpful to share some tips I've picked up...and some pics from our adventure this morning.

  • Central Park officially opens at 6am, but us free-lovers go early early to get in the line to get into the park - the entrance is at 81st st and Central Park West (B/C to 81st St or 1 to 79th St).  
  • Common sense says that an hour earlier would be sufficient, but we say kick common sense out of the park...and go around 1AM. You can be sure there are people crazier than you.  We also think that by going earlier in the night/morning, you can still get in some sleep (pick a flat bench, your back will thank you), instead of having to wake up at the odd hours of 3 or 4am.
  • Be sure to set your alarm for around 545AM, so you wake up in time for the line to start moving into the park at 6AM.
  • Once inside the park, they will line you up in front of the theater. Stake your spot, and keep on sleeping until they start handing out tickets at 1PM!
  • Weekdays will have less people, so you can likely go closer to 6AM and still get tickets.

  • Sleeping bag, pillow, lots of water and snacks, a jacket for the night (it still gets a little chilly), air mattress (as you can see above), chairs, sunscreen, cameras, games...and patience!  
  • See the example below.

  • Definitely grab some friends and go together. It not only makes the 12 or so hours more tolerable and fun, but it's also safer.
  • Bathroom breaks are allowed.
  • Food can be ordered from 2 places, but Andy's Deli is cheaper - get the # from the guys managing the line (they do a good job).
  • If you are at or near the Rock of Hope, you still have a good chance!
  • Make friends with your neighbors, because they can vouch for you if any issues come up.
  • Each person gets 2 tickets, FYI!
  • Visitors (with fro-yo) are always welcomed, but note they can't stay and get a tix (but we do our best to give them on of our extras: ). We love them!
  • I know spending all night in Central Park is not possible for everyone - so you can also try these:
    • Standby line - go around 4PM near the theater to get in line. These seats will be distributed close to the show start time (8p), and while they are not together, they usually are better seats. 1 tix per person.
    • Virtual line - submit your name thru the website on the day of the show you want to attend, and see if you get picked! I can confirm from 2 different people that it works.
Have any other tips to share? Let me know! I do hope you go at least once, because it's so much fun! I plan to see Winter's Tale soon, if you're interested in joining. ENJOY!