We're sadly reporting that legendy Times Square comedy club Carolines on Broadway, which has been in operation for 40 years, will close to the public before the end of the year.
The announcement was just made public on Carolines' official Instagram account.
"After 30 wonderful years at our location in Times Square, we have decided not to renew our lease," reads the message. "Our final shows here will be on December 31."
Club owner Caroline Hirsch told the New York Post that, although the business has successfully rebounded from the pandemic, the venue's rent was due for a "reset" at the end of the year.
"My landlord felt they can get a lot more for the space," Hirsch explained about the destination at 750 Seventh Avenue. "New Year's Eve will be our last night."
As long-time New Yorkers may remember, Hirsch opened Carolines in Soho as a cabaret destination back in 1981. In 1987, she moved the business to the South Street Seaport—an area that did not enjoy as much traffic and attention as it does today.
A few years later, in 1992, Hirsch relocated to Times Square, a decision that she discussed in the venue’s latest Instagram post. “Many New Yorkers and businesses had written off Times Square and NYC overall due to record-high crime and a lack of proactive government solutions,” she wrote. “People thought we were crazy to invest in Times Square, only later to say that we were ahead of the curve when global brands like Disney, Nasdaq and national retailers and businesses came to the neighborhood.”
Clearly, Hirsch knew what she was doing. In addition to rapidly becoming a go-to comedy club among locals and tourists alike, the space became the home of the annual New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), founded by the owner in 2004 and still featuring over 200 comedians performing at over 100 shows across all five boroughs during a full week each year.
For what it's worth, Hirsch promises to expand the Carolines brand. Whether the development will take the form of a virtual festival, a new brick-and-mortar space or something novel entirely is yet to be seen but one thing is for sure: a defining portion of Times Square has forever been altered.