If you don’t know her name already, it should be on your radar: Celia Keenan-Bolger is a three-time Tony Award nominee who’s now starring in Lincoln Center Theater’s “The Oldest Boy.”
Despite spending a heck of a lot of time in Midtown heeding the siren call of the stage, she’s really a Downtown girl at heart. Currently, she lives near Union Square — in fact, she’s only ever lived within walking distance since first coming to NYC.
We asked what she loves about the area below 14thStreet, from theater spots to foodie picks (including where to drink) .
On living Downtown: I’ve always lived Downtown, actually. My first apartment was on Stanton between Christie and Bowery, and then I lived on Sullivan Street between Bleecker and Third. Now I’m in Union Square, and I’ve been there for seven years with my husband. I guess I did have a stint for like a month, a sublet, on 103rd Street — but then I went right back down.
On seeing theater below 14th Street: I will see anything at New York Theatre Workshop (79 E. Fourth St.). I just saw an amazing play — I’ve seen a lot of amazing theatrical works — at HERE Arts Center (145 Ave. of the Americas). I love the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre (224 Waverly Place). Those places are all giving a different and more ambitious version of theater than you may find in Midtown.
On the dining atmosphere around Union Square: I’m not particularly a fan of a white tablecloth or being waited on hand and foot. For some people, that’s the joy of going out to eat. I do equate that a little more with Uptown. But I want to go somewhere more comfortable, where the staff isn’t in uniform and crowds are a bit more laid-back and diverse.
On local dating spots: [My husband and I are] close to Washington Square Park, which is such a cliche. When we started dating, we got coffee and went there. This woman came up, like, “We’re making a reality show for couples.” We were like, “Oh God, we’ve just been on two dates.” And she was like, “Oh! Sorry. You guys seemed like you’d been together for a really long time.”
On lower ticket prices off-Broadway: I think that’s the only way theater will continue to exist — if we make it available to people who have normal jobs in New York City. To make the investment to see a Broadway show, you have to want to see it so badly. And then your expectations are so crazy, because it needs to be really good. What else are you spending $100-something on in one night?
On family activities nearby: I recently had a really fun trip to Pier 25. I was like, “What on Earth is this place in NYC?” It was cheap and not crowded and so much fun. My husband and I both have CitiBikes, and we do a lot of biking along the path on the West Side Highway, on the Hudson River Walkway. I love just having a walk or a bike ride along there. I just never realized that there’s miniature golf down there as well!