Monday, December 16, 2013

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Book Online or Dial 212-247-7800

When a co-worker and I ordered tickets to see Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall, there was much contention during the seat-selection process. I was content with sitting in the $12.50 balcony seats, but the world keeps flinging little reminders that not everyone is like me.

“You’re too good for a balcony?” I reacted. “Eva Peron wasn’t. Romeo and Juliet weren’t. I’ve sat in all different sections of theaters and auditoriums, large and small, and feel privileged just to be present.”

She said the last time she sat in a balcony she was basically almost driven to jumping off of it, and promised she would never put herself in that position again.

At one point, it got so heated I said we’d have to sit our separate ways. That I’d hit the bleachers by myself while she sat amongst those who aren’t happy unless and until they’re able to confirm the exact color of the conductor’s bow tie. In the end, the holiday spirit got the best of me, and I huffily agreed to pay the $25 (plus a $6 service fee) to sit beside my buddy.

Did I mention that she’s 71 years old?

Whenever I tell my dad about a party or an event, he loves to get a head count. “Was it well-attended?” is a question I’ve come to expect. In this case, he was surprised to hear how many empty seats there were, as Carnegie Hall was apparently a place to be when he frequented New York, decades ago. The last time I saw something there, it was equally under-attended. While my mind says $12.50 (which, for those of us who aren’t 71, is less than what it costs to catch a movie five blocks uptown) isn’t bad and wishes more locals and tourists took advantage of amounts like that, my always-up-for-a-stretch legs and arms say Hallelujah!, the more empty seats there are in front of, behind, and next to me. 


  1. I really got a kick out of this posting. I'm afraid I'm in the close-up tickets category of your 71-year-old friend. (After all, I'm 68.) You have to bear in mind that even with glasses one's eyesight is not as great as it used to be, and hearing? Don't ask. Even if a person is not to the stage of needing a hearing aid, there's often some deterioration, especially with people who attended college in the 60s. You know, sex, drugs, and rock and roll? That last one gets your ear drums in the end, even if your other body parts survive the first two :)

  2. I need to "comment on my comment." I did not pay sufficient attention to the fact that the music to be heard was Handel's Messiah and that it was being performed at Carnegie Hall, one of the most acoustically perfect places in the known universe. You really would have to be extraordinarily deaf not to be able to hear it, so under the circumstances I think inexpensive, back-row seats in the balcony would have been just fine, even for us survivors of the 1960s.