"Big Theatre Row"
West 44th is a big Broadway street and from what I understand, it has been since this started being the big Broadway area. John's Pizza, the offshoot of the famous Greenwich pizza, is right on the corner at 8th. I, personally, don't like Johns but if you want to try tourist famous pizza in a really touristy area, then maybe this is the place. Next door to John's is a big Broadway hang called Angus McIndoe. Investors include Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and Mel Brooks so there are always theatre big wigs at this spot. Next to Angus is the St James theatre where Hello Dolly and The Producers both enjoyed very long runs. Across from the St James is the Majestic Theatre where Phantom ran for many moons. This is the street where all the big Broadway shows are. Most of them are very commercial and you're not going to see anything ground breaking, but it's great for old fashioned Broadway going, that's for sure. The Helen Hayes Theatre and the Broadhurst are also right here. They have both been around for about 100 years and have seen such gems as Grease, Amadeus and Cabaret. They're grand old theatres that I'm glad are still around even if the crowds on the street drive me bonkers. The famous Broadway restaurant Sardi's is next to the Helen Hayes. I think the food here is sub par and kind of pricey considering but the history is great. Greta Garbo, James Cagney and Robert De NIro were all frequent patrons. Another famous Broadway restaurant called Carmines is a few doors down though that's more for the Broadway going tourists nowadays. The Shubert Theatre (one of the more famous ones) is on the corner of the block right at Shubert alley. Spamalot is here now but this is where A Chorus Line debuted and ran for about an eternity.
After Shubert Alley, the block becomes home to massive commercial buildings like the MTV headquarters and the Paramount building. The back entrance to the New York Times is next to the Paramount. There are disturbingly tourist driven, crappy restaurants on the ground floors of these buildings like Bubba Gump Shrimp but one cool thing that happens here is the Paramount plays a chime at 7:45 every night to let everyone know there's 15 minutes til curtain call for all of the shows. I like that.
I wouldn't live on this block because of the crowds, trash, noise, Times Square-ness, but it is really magical to walk down because of all the theatre history.