A survey tells me Spiderman and Sellers in Times Square may be targeted.

Broadway elmoThere is a simple rule in the research industry:

Never ask for feedback, unless you’re prepared to do something with the results.

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of surveys and focus groups and even dial testing.  And I believe that all Producers and Creators should seek out feedback from friends, family, and most importantly, ticket buyers as they develop their product and marketing.

Just last week I got a fascinating survey emailed straight to my inbox from the Times Square Alliance. (The Alliance was founded in 1992 to “improve and promote Times Square – cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century,” and as you’d expect, many of its board members are big Broadway muckety-mucks.)

As I read the survey and thought of that simple rule of research I talked about at the beginning of this blog, I realized that the Alliance is up to something.  

The survey started with general questions about who I was, what I did, and when I was last in Times Square.

And then it asked some pointed questions about how I felt about two things:

– The costumed characters in Times Square (Spiderman, Spongebob, and whatever else has dressed up lately).


– Street sellers of tickets to Broadway shows, stand-up comedy, etc.

In addition to wanting to know what I thought about both of the above, the Alliance also wanted to know if I had a “negative experience” with both sets of people.


Insert dramatic chords here.

Times Square has become the Wild West of street sellers.  Everything from a show to a super hero to a Scientologist is out in that box hawking their wares.  And, as I reported in my survey, I’m not  a fan of what’s going on (except for the ones selling tickets to my shows, of course).

And it sounds like the Alliance isn’t either and wants to do something.  It’s funny, twenty years ago they got the prostitutes and crack heads out of Times Square.  Now they want to kick out Elmo.

But what can they do?  Can they stop the costumed characters from walking through public space and offering free photos for tips?  Can they stop the Chicago girls from handing out flyers?  Certainly there is a difference, right?

What do you think should be done to curb the selling in the square?  Anything?  And what about when YOU have a show that you want to offer to all the consumers walking through the box?

Let me know what you think below.  And maybe the Alliance will take note and add the results to their survey.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.