By Samantha Chapnick
As Letterman’s stage door entrance becomes ever more popular among visitors on a star-seeking New York vacation, it’s time to learn a few new insider places. They’re more niche, but I’ve found them to be more accessible.
Even on days where a b-list star is making an appearance, at least 10 or 20 people are waiting at 53rd between Broadway and 8th (Avenue) with the hope of glimpsing someone appearing on "The Late Show."
On days when Mick or Paris is popping in, the people and paparazzi are so thick that only fans who get there before 2:15 p.m. are going to see anything but the dandruff on the head of the guy, who stood behind the guy, who stood behind the woman, who got an autograph.
The stage door for "Good Morning America" at 44th Street and waiting outside a Broadway theater when a favorite famous person is in the cast are lesser known but still over-discovered. So it’s time to find fresh fields.
The stage door for the lesser-known show, Center Stage is completely ignored since it’s broadcast on a small sports channel (YES, the Yankee TV network). It does have more elite athlete guests than most mainstream shows (recent guests include Roger Clemens, Martina Navratilova, and Joe Namath), but that’s no reason to dismiss it as just for sports fans.
The one hour/one guest format appeals to the more intellectual celebrities. If you’d gone recently, you might have had a quick photo or chat with Ethan Hawke, LL Cool J, Kevin Bacon or Larry David. Check the Web site for details on where the show is taping and to find upcoming guests or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
The stage door of Martha Stewart’s new show (Chelsea Television Studios, 221 W. 26th Street) is another sleeper celeb spot that I’ve found.
The show has serious star power — and most have nothing to do with entertaining or homemaking. Can you see Bill Clinton, Chris Matthews, Chevy Chase, Morgan Freeman, Sharon Stone or Diana Ross making Pom Pom bunnies?
All were recent guests along with Aidan Quinn, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Sedaris, Vince Gill, Joan Rivers and many many others.
Of course, this is also the ideal place to finally meet that chef you have been stalking.
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Samantha Chapnick is a travel expert who lives in New York City.