Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

"Lincoln Center" redirects here. For other uses, see Lincoln Center (disambiguation).
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

The Metropolitan Opera House (left) and David Geffen Hall (right) and the Charles H. Revson Fountain at twilight
Location Manhattan, New York City, US
Coordinates 40°46′20″N 73°59′00″W / 40.772311°N 73.983403°W / 40.772311; -73.983403Coordinates: 40°46′20″N 73°59′00″W / 40.772311°N 73.983403°W / 40.772311; -73.983403
Public transit



Type Performing-arts center
Built 19551969
Opened 1962 (when the center's first venue, Philharmonic Hall, opened)

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 16.3-acre (6.6-hectare) complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It hosts many notable performing arts organizations, which are nationally and internationally renowned, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet.


David Geffen Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic in Lincoln Center
The David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Ballet

A consortium of civic leaders and others led by, and under the initiative of, John D. Rockefeller III built Lincoln Center as part of the "Lincoln Square Renewal Project" during Robert Moses's program of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s.[1] Respected architects were contracted to design the major buildings on the site, and over the next thirty years the previously blighted area around Lincoln Center became a new cultural hub.[2]

Rockefeller was Lincoln Center's inaugural president from 1956 and became its chairman in 1961. He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing on his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project.[1] The center's three buildings, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall), David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) and the Metropolitan Opera House were opened in 1962, 1964 and 1966, respectively.

While the center may have been named because it was located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, it is unclear whether the area was named as a tribute to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. The name was bestowed on the area in 1906 by the New York City Board of Aldermen, but records give no reason for choosing that name.[3] There has long been speculation that the name came from a local landowner, because the square was previously named Lincoln Square. City records from the time show only the names Johannes van Bruch, Thomas Hall, Stephan de Lancey, James de Lancey, James de Lancey Jr. and John Somerindyck as area property owners. One speculation is that references to President Lincoln were omitted from the records because the mayor in 1906 was George B. McClellan, Jr., son of General George B. McClellan who was general-in-chief of the Union Army early in the American Civil War and a bitter rival of Lincoln.[4]


Main plaza at the Center

Architects who designed buildings at the center include:

Facility history


The first structure to be completed and occupied as part of this renewal was the Fordham Law School of Fordham University in 1962. Located between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to 66th Streets in Lincoln Square, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the complex was the first gathering of major cultural institutions into a centralized location in an American city.

The development of the condominium at 3 Lincoln Center,[5] completed in 1991, designed by Lee Jablin, Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet.[5][6][7]

The center's cultural institutions also make use of facilities located away from the main campus. In 2004, the center was expanded through the addition of Jazz at Lincoln Center's newly built facilities, the Frederick P. Rose Hall, at the new Time Warner Center, located a few blocks to the south. In March 2006, the center launched construction on a major redevelopment plan that modernized, renovated, and opened up its campus. Redevelopment was completed in 2012 with the completion of the President's Bridge over West 65th Street.[8]


When it was first announced in 1999, Lincoln Center's campuswide redevelopment was to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years and radically transform the campus.[9] There was an architectural competition, won by the British architect Norman Foster in 2005, but a full scale redesign was not approved until 2012, in part because of the need to raise $300 million in construction costs and the New York Philharmonic's fear that it might lose audiences and revenue while it was displaced.[10][11] Among the architects that have been involved were Frank Gehry; Cooper, Robertson & Partners; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Beyer Blinder Belle; Fox & Fowle; Olin Partnership; and Diller & Scofidio.[12]

In March 2006, the center launched the 65th Street Project   part of a major redevelopment plan continuing through the fall of 2012   to create a new pedestrian promenade designed to improve accessibility and the aesthetics of that area of the campus. Additionally, Alice Tully Hall was modernized and reopened to critical and popular acclaim in 2009 and the Film Society of Lincoln Center expanded with the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Topped by a sloping lawn roof, the film center is part of a new pavilion that also houses a destination restaurant named Lincoln, as well as offices. Subsequent projects were added which addressed improvements to the main plazas and Columbus Avenue Grand Stairs. Under the direction of the Lincoln Center Development Project, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FXFOWLE Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects provided the design services. Additionally, Turner Construction Company and RCDolner, LLC[13] were the construction managers for the projects.[14][15] Another component to redevelopment was the addition of the David Rubenstein Atrium designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, a visitors' center and a gateway to the center that offers free performances, day-of-discount tickets, food, and free Wi-Fi.


Performance facilities

Auditorium of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Interior of the David H. Koch Theater

The center has 30 indoor and outdoor performance facilities that include:

Resident organizations

The center serves as home for eleven resident arts organizations:[23]

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA) is one of the eleven resident organizations, and serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the center's campus. As the world's largest presenter of performing arts offering some 5,000 programs, initiatives and events annually, its programs include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, Target Free Thursdays, the White Light Festival and the Emmy Award–winning Live from Lincoln Center.[23][24]

In July 2006, the LCPA announced it would join with publishing company John Wiley & Sons to publish at least 15 books on performing arts, and would draw on the Lincoln Center Institute's educational background and archives.[25]

Lincoln Center is featured in the 1968 films No Way to Treat a Lady and The Producers. In the former, the character played by Lee Remick works there as a tour guide, and in the latter, the theatrical producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, meet at the Revson Fountain to discuss their scheme to defraud their investors; the climax of the scene is provided by the eruption of the plaza's fountain while Bloom dances around it. Lincoln Center is also where the final competition takes place in Pitch Perfect.

See also



  1. 1 2 "Rockefeller Philanthropy: Lincoln Center" (PDF format).
  2. Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. ISBN 9780813336619, ISBN 9780813336626. OCLC 47867623.
  3. Gray, Christopher (October 2, 2005). "Streetscapes: Readers' Questions; The Story of a Name, the Tale of a Co-op". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  4. Collins, Glenn (May 11, 2009). "50 Years In, Center's Name Is Still a Mystery". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  5. 1 2 Goldberger, Paul (July 28, 1991). "Architecture View". The New York Times.
  6. Gill, Brendan (August 19, 1991). "The Skyline". The New Yorker. pp. 5760.
  7. Bosco, Pearl (November 1989). "Three Lincoln Center". Institute for Urban Design. Project Monograph. Vol. 2, No. 4.
  8. 1 2 Pogrebin, Robin. (October 1, 2012) "New Bridge at Lincoln Center to Open Monday". The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  9. Robin Pogrebin (May 8, 2003), "Lincoln Center Proceeds, Modestly". The New York Times.
  10. Pogrebin, Robin (November 28, 2012), "Avery Fisher Hall to Be Renovated". New York Times.
  11. Polsky, Sarah. (November 29, 2012) "Avery Fisher Hall Will Finally Get Its Long-Delayed Makeover" Curbed NY
  12. Pogrebin, Robin. (June 19, 2003), "Costs and Approach Disputed in Lincoln Center Redevelopment". New York Times.
  14. Pogrebin, Robin (August 17, 2006). "On 65th Street, Glimpsing Lincoln Center's Future". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  15. "Transforming Lincoln Center" on Lincoln Center website Archived May 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. Sisario, Ben. (May 6, 2008) "Tully Hall to Reopen in 2009 With Eclectic Music Festival" The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  17. Ouroussoff, Nicolai (May 20, 2010). "The Greening of Lincoln Center". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  18. "New York Times | Lincoln Center Turns to Broadway for Its Next Chief". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  19. Smith Jennifer (September 24, 2015) "Lincoln Center Concert Hall Renamed for David Geffen". The Wall Street Journal Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  20. See Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at the Internet off-Broadway Database for a list of productions in the venue.
  21. Pogrebin, Robin. (October 8, 2013) "$4 Million Grant to Help Rebrand Lincoln Center Institute" The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  22. "Map of Lincoln Center" Archived July 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  23. 1 2 "What Is Lincoln Center, and What Is a Resident Organization?". Frequently Asked Questions: About Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  24. "About Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA)". About Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA). Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  25. Maul, Kimberly (July 27, 2006). "Wiley and Lincoln Center Dance Together". The Book Standard.


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