For most of the year, New York’s Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan looks the same. Travelers bustle in and out of Penn Station, food vendors line the street selling everything from shawarma to ice cream to hot dogs. But for the last month, a new feature illuminated Eightth Avenue — a layer of brightly colored feathers has lined the streets. Over the last month, these feathers have acted almost as an unintentional Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail towards Madison Square Garden, shed from the 70s-style feather boas of thousands of fans who have come to see Harry Styles.

The British pop artist first got his start on “The X Factor” when the famed singing competition judge Simon Cowell assembled the boy group One Direction, using five competitors, including Styles. While One Direction didn’t win that year’s season of The X Factor, they almost immediately became a fan favorite and a world-renowned sensation. After six years, five studio albums, and four world tours, the group went on a still-continuing hiatus. Following the hiatus, each of the boys began solo careers, with Styles seeing the most success. Styles’ success is reflected through having 22 songs on the Billboard Top 100, being a headliner at the Coachella festival in 2022, and currently ranking the fourth most-listened-to artist on Spotify.

In May of this year, Styles announced the continuation of his “Love on Tour” which began in September 2021; however, it would look different going forward. Rather than touring dozens of cities across the U.S., he would only be playing in five. He initially decided to only play a few residency shows at each venue — with the most being 10 in New York and Los Angeles — but due to popular demand, he increased the number to 15.

While the residency shows act as a home base for Styles and require less mobility from his production team, it means seeing Styles results in some difficulties for audiences. Tickets can be as low as $80 , but for most of the dates in New York, the price has been closer to $200. Air or train fare from a city such as Boston to New York will often cost another $150, and hotel room accommodations can cost another $300 for just one night. This excludes food and potential merchandise purchases. One night seeing Styles can add up to a minimum of $500 a person.

Despite the high costs, thousands have been traveling across state lines for this one-night-only experience. During Styles’ Sept. 3 show he asked the crowd, “Who in this room is from New York City?” Applause erupted from the New York residents. Styles then asked, “Who in this room is not from New York City?” An explosion of cheers erupted from the crowd, louder than those that preceded them. Styles then thanked “the people of New York and surrounding areas.”

New York City native Hannah Lustig ’25 was able to purchase limited presale tickets to stand in the general admission pit for Styles’ upcoming Sept. 14 show, around $700 cheaper than the inflated prices by scalpers currently listing sales on Ticketmaster. Because she lives in New York City, she is able to stay at home and avoid the additional cost of getting a hotel or Airbnb. She affirmed that she likely wouldn’t go if the experience cost any more than what she’s currently paying.

“I’m not like a superfan or anything,” Lustig said. “I feel like most people in Gen Z like him.” While not a self-proclaimed “superfan,” Lustig is still skipping her Wednesday classes in order to attend the midweek concert.

Many fans will not let cost be an inhibiting factor if it means that they can scream hits from Styles’ latest album “Harry’s House” along with 20,000 other fans in the Garden. For others, it’s just not feasible. Caleigh Abbe ’26 had purchased tickets to see Styles in October for one of his shows in Chicago. Like Lustig, Abbe has a place to stay: in her case, with friends. While she initially bought concert tickets, she admitted to waiting too long for plane tickets, which she has yet to purchase, that have since quintupled in price. “We’re only going to go if [airfare goes] back down, which at this point is just becoming more unlikely.” The tickets, originally priced at $49 dollars when Abbe first began looking, have now increased to close to $250 dollars. 

“Even if we can afford it, there’s also the moral of it. Why am I going to spend $500 plus for a concert,” Abbe said. “That was ridiculous.”

Seeing Harry Styles live made many fans ask themselves an important question – How much am I willing to pay? How much am I willing to pay to hear Styles’ notorious stage banter? How much am I willing to pay to chant for his fan-favorite unreleased song “Medicine”? How much am I willing to pay to see Styles rolled out in a box and underneath the stage located in the center of the arena? How much am I willing to pay to experience “Love on Tour”?