Update on the TKTS booth: Does hanging up on someone give you a good “rep”?

On Monday, I told you I would test the rep of the men behind the management of the renovation of the TKTS booth to see if someone would take responsibility, and also give a citizen some information.

Here’s how it went down:

Call #1:  D. Haller

Ring, ring . . .

D. Haller:  “D. Haller.”

Me:    “Hi.  My name is Ken Davenport. I’m a NYC resident and I have an office in Times Square and I’m calling about the construction project at Duffy Square that seems to be incredibly behind schedule.  I was wondering what the delay was?”

D. Haller:  “You have to call Ellen Goldstein at the Times Square Alliance about that.  Her number is 212-452-5208.

Me:  “Ah, ok.  But aren’t you the construction management firm?”

D. Haller:  “You have to call Ellen Goldstein at the Times Square Alliance.”

Me:  “Ah, ok . . . but can you tell me . . . are you the construction managers.”

D. Haller:  “Yes, we are the construction managers but you have to call Ellen Goldstein at the Times Square Alliance.”

Me:  “Huh.  Ok.  Thank you.”

Call #2:  Ellen Goldstein at the Times Square Alliance

Ring, ring . . .

Ellen Goldstein:  “Ellen Goldstein.”

Me:  “Hi Ellen. My name is Ken Davenport. I’m a NYC resident and I have an office in Times Square and I’m calling about the construction
project at Duffy Square that seems to be incredibly behind
schedule.  I just got off the phone with D. Haller and they said . . .

Ellen Goldstein:  “They tell everyone to call me about this.  I’m not the right person to talk to about this.”

Me:  “Oh, ok, well, can you tell me who I . . .

Dial tone.  She hung up.  End of conversation.  Hmmmmm . . .

Call #3:  D. Haller

Ring, ring . . .

D. Haller:  “D. Haller.”

Me:   “Hi.  I spoke to you earlier about the construction project in Duffy Square and you said to call Ellen Goldstein.  She said she was the wrong person to talk to and then she hung up on me.”

D. Haller:  “Really?  Huh.  Well, let me put you on with Billy.”

I don’t really know who Billy was.  But he was definitely the Boss.

And Billy was great.  After asking me if I was a reporter, he confirmed that the project was supposed to take only six months.  He told me it wasn’t a management problem, and that the design of this project was extremely ambitious (something confirmed in the TSA’s own description ).  Did you know that the design actually was honored by the New York City Art Commission for excellence in design?

I asked when he thought it would be done.  He anticipated it would be completed by the end of the summer.

Billy then apologized for Ellen hanging up on me and he said I deserved info as does everyone else who lives in this city.

What did I learn in my day as a faux-Geraldo?

  • The person that answers the phone is like a soldier on the front lines.  Arm them with the right info so they can deal with “incomings”.
  • Don’t hang up on people.  Duh.  Cuz they might have a blog.  Or write a user review.  Or tell their friends that your show sucks, and you won’t have a chance to give your side of the story.
  • Speak to the boss.  Go to the top when you want the real answers, even though they may not be the ones you want to hear.
  • And my favorite lesson of the day?

Just because something wins art awards and is praised up and down as
“significant”, doesn’t mean it’s practical.

Whether or not you’re building a TKTS booth or a Broadway show for a market as complicated as the one in Times Square, there has to be a balance
between art and construction.

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