I laugh – well, sneer would probably be a more accurate choice of verb — at those who are willing to stand on a line for an hour or more at the Shake Shack. Yes, I am a fan of the Shack and really like the burger. But it’s a BURGER!! No burger, no matter how delicious it might be is worth more than, perhaps, a 10-15 minute wait on a line.* In fact, no food, no matter how amazing it might be, would ever get me to stand on an hour-long (or longer) line.
There is only one thing I am willing to wait on a line for, and for much longer than an hour – actually, almost two hours: the possibility of getting center Parterre Box front row seats during ABT’s spring season. So, now, you’re laughting (or sneering) and thinking that’s crazy. Why not just go on-line to purchase tickets? The answer to that is simple: center Parterre Box seats are never available on-line. Or, for that matter, in subscription series.
Yearning for these Parterre Box seats is really M’s “fault,” so to speak. Many years ago, we had come to the city to attend the 9th Avenue Street Fair. On the spur of the moment, we decided to see if we could get tickets to a matinee performance of ABT’s Swan Lake. J and I sat in the car on a street alongside Lincoln Center while M went into the Metropolitan Opera House to see what, if anything, was available.
A few minutes later, he was back with three tickets and looking especially pleased with himself. The tickets were for the first row of a Parterre Box. The cost: $90 EACH! I was horrified! Back then, $90 per ticket was an insane cost – at least double what we normally paid for a ballet ticket. I can’t remember now why he bought those particular tickets, but since sales are always final, we were stuck.
I was still miffed at M as we made our way into the Opera House and up the stairs to the Parterre Box level. We discovered that the doors to these boxes are locked. An usher stationed nearby checked our tickets and admitted us. Inside, there was a small ante-room where you could put your coat (it being a warm day in May, we had none), which opened into the box. There were three rows of chairs, each with three seats. We were in Box 29, and our tickets were for front row seats 1, 2 and 3. Instantly, my horror at the cost and my annoyance at M vanished. These seats were phenomenal – three of the best in the house! A good way to describe them is that if the Queen of England came to the Opera House to see a performance, she would be seated in one of these seats. Now, I was Queen for a Day, and J was a little Princess. As for M, he went from being in the proverbial dog house to hero status!
It would be many years before we would sit in a Parterre Box again. Eventually, we were able to more easily afford that luxury. We then became aware that our best chance to obtain front row seats in the center Parterre Boxes was to be at the Opera House the first day single tickets go on sale at the box office.
This year, that was yesterday. The box office opens at noon, but since we know that people line up well before then, we arrived at 11 a.m. The doors to the Opera House were not yet open but, as expected, there was a line along the side of the building.
Moments later, we were allowed inside and took our places within the rope lines.
The box office actually opened a few minutes before noon. Fifty minutes later, we had our tickets in hand.**
We were able to get front row Parterre Box seats for all three of the ballets we are seeing this season. J and the P.G. will be joining us for just one, The Lady of the Camellias, a ballet new to all of us. M and I so enjoyed Sleeping Beauty last year that we will be seeing it again. And, of course, there will be our annual ritual, Swan Lake.
Yup! The almost two-hour wait was definitely worth it!
* We have our visits to the Shake Shack down to a science. We go on the weekend in the summer for brunch. They open at 11 a.m., so we arrive about 10 minutes before. If there is a line, it’s very short, maybe a half-dozen people. Once, we were the first ones there!
**There were six windows open.