It’s been almost 22 years since David Letterman took up residency for CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman at 1697 Broadway in Manhattan. While he’s decided to sign off, it’s not too late for you to head to the area and experience remnants of the show.
Letterman told Jane Pauley on CBS Sunday Morning that he’s not likely to return to visit the theater once his show finished because he just wouldn’t want to come back and, “…see others living our lives.” But that doesn’t mean that you can’t see it for yourself.
The Late Show was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater, which was built in 1927 and previously home to the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan’s show gave big breaks to some who went on to become showbiz legends, including Elvis Presley. It was also the site of the Beatles first U.S. stage performance. Lines for tickets and staged protests were a regular site outside the box office doors throughout the years. Grab your camera and get a selfie standing in front of the famous marquee sign before it comes down.
Bits and Pieces
As you look up, you may remember a recurring sketch from Letterman’s show that involved destroying various household items by throwing them off the roof of the theater.
Outside the theater on 53rd Street was a site for ample bits, ranging from Bill Murray (one of Letterman’s first guests on the show) kicking a “field goal” through a goal post, to exploding pumpkins in the middle of the street, playing tennis with Andre Agassi, skateboarding stunts and even a dog diving contest. You can head further down memory lane by searching for some of these famous clips on the internet.
Employees of local businesses in the nearby area at times found themselves featured in skits, from Mujibur and Sirajul at the local gift/souvenir store to Rupert Jee from the Hello Deli. Jee was featured in numerous shows dating back to 1993, and he can still be found in his deli posing for occasional photos with tourists.
Jee says he never wanted to be on TV, but he was pushed until he finally relented. In the end, David Letterman felt Jee’s contribution to the show important enough to have Jee on as a sit-down guest on the second-to-last show. His restaurant is deli-style, and prices are reasonable enough.
In addition to the recurring “Psychic Sandwich” skit in which a woman tried to guess the sandwich Jee was making, sandwiches are named after some staffers from the show. Jee has also been used in sketches at other restaurants and stores in the area, often repeating lines, deadpan, fed to him by Dave via earpiece. Jee has even been seen selling t-shirts in the lobby post-show. And while you may not be able to purchase your souvenir t-shirt on-site any longer, if you must have your swag, either head around the corner to the Hello Deli where they’ve got stock, or know that you can get official merchandise on CBS’ online store.
Maybe now Dave will have time to travel with his family. Perhaps he should check out TravelingMoms’ articles to prepare his son for luxury travel, or read up on tips about luxury air travel for kids. Good luck to you Dave! You’ve certainly earned a vacation.