Lincoln Center
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Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center Overview (48047495362).jpg
The David H. Koch Theater (left), The Metropolitan Opera House (center), and David Geffen Hall (right) and the Revson Fountain in front
Lincoln Center is located in Manhattan
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center
Location within Manhattan
Lincoln Center is located in New York City
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center (New York City)
Lincoln Center is located in New York
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center (New York)
Location10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Coordinates40°46?19?N 73°59?05?W / 40.7720°N 73.9847°W / 40.7720; -73.9847Coordinates: 40°46?19?N 73°59?05?W / 40.7720°N 73.9847°W / 40.7720; -73.9847
Public transitNew York City Subway:"1" train at 66th Street-Lincoln Center
Bus transportNYCT Bus: M5, M7, M11, M66, M104
TypePerforming-arts center
Opened1962 (when the center's first venue, Philharmonic Hall, opened)

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (also simply known as Lincoln Center) is a 16.3-acre (6.6-hectare) complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City.[1] It has thirty indoor and outdoor facilities and is host to 5 million visitors annually.[1] It houses nationally and internationally renowned performing arts organizations 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' program of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s.[2] Respected architects were contracted to design the major buildings on the site, and over the next thirty years the previously diverse working class area around Lincoln Center was replaced with a conglomeration of high culture to please the tastes of the consortium.[3]

Rockefeller was appointed as the Lincoln Center's inaugural president in 1956, and once he resigned, became its chairman in 1961.[4] He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing from his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project.[2] Numerous architects were hired to build different parts of the center (see § Architects). The center's three buildings, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall, originally named Philharmonic Hall), David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) and the Metropolitan Opera House were opened in 1962, 1964 and 1966, respectively.[4]

It is unclear whether the center was named as a tribute to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln or for its location in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood. 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.[5] There has long been speculation that the name came from a local landowner, because the square was previously named Lincoln Square. However, property records from the New York Municipal Archives from that time have no record of a Lincoln surname; they only list the names Johannes van Bruch, Thomas Hall, Stephan de Lancey, James de Lancey, James de Lancey, Jr. and John Somerindyck.[6] 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's.[7]

Historical timeline

  • April 21, 1955: The Mayor's Slum Clearance Committee chaired by Robert Moses is approved by the New York City Board of Estimate to designate Lincoln Square for urban renewal.[8]
  • November 8, 1955: John D. Rockefeller III is elected as chairman.[8]
  • June 22, 1956: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. incorporated.[8]
  • May 14, 1959: Ground-breaking ceremony with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[8]
  • April 6, 1964: Lincoln Center Fountain, named for Charles Revson, opens.[4]
  • April 23, 1964: New York State Theater opens.[4]
  • October 14, 1965: Vivian Beaumont Theater and the Forum (now Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater) open.[4]
  • November 30, 1965: The Library & Museum of the Performing Arts opens.[4]
  • August 1, 1966: The first indoor festival in the United States, the Midsummer Serenades - A Mozart Festival begins.[4]
  • September 16, 1966: The Metropolitan Opera House opens.[4]
  • May 22, 1969: Damrosch Park and the Guggenheim Band Shell opens.[4]
  • September 11, 1969: Alice Tully Hall opens.[4]
  • October 26, 1969: Juilliard School opens.[4]
  • May 20, 1974: The Lincoln Center Institute is officially founded.[9]
  • October 22, 1974: The Avery Fisher Artist Program is founded to give outstanding American instrumentalists significant recognition on which to continue to build their careers. It includes both The Avery Fisher Prize and the Avery Fisher Career Grants.[9]
  • January 30, 1976: The first live telecast of Live from Lincoln Center is broadcast over PBS.[9]
  • October 19, 1976: Avery Fisher Hall re-opens after renovation to improve acoustics.[9]
  • December 4, 1981: The Big Apple Circus marks its first performances at its winter home in Damrosch Park. The circus has performed every winter at Lincoln Center through the 2016 season when it was forced to liquidate its assets due to continued financial losses.[10]
  • September 7, 1982: New York State Theater re-opens after renovation to improve acoustics.[11]
  • August 3, 1987: Classical Jazz, Lincoln Center's first concert series devoted exclusively to jazz, begins in Alice Tully Hall.[11]
  • November 19, 1990: The Samuel B. and David Rose Building opens housing the Walter Reade Theater, the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Rehearsal Studio, the Clark Studio Theater, the School of American Ballet, Juilliard School student residences, and office space for a number of the member organizations.[12]
  • January 27, 1991: The Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center opens with concerts held at Avery Fisher Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House, making it the world's largest and most comprehensive tribute to the life and works of Mozart.[12]
  • June 13, 1994: Beverly Sills is elected Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. She is the first woman and the first professional musician to be elected to this position, serving until May 1, 2002.[12]
  • January 18, 2001: The Lincoln Center Constituent Development Project is established to implement and oversee the comprehensive reconstruction, renovation, and modernization of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.[13]
  • October 18, 2004: Jazz at Lincoln Center opens. The hall is made up of three theaters: the Rose Theater, the Allen Room, and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.[13]
  • March 20, 2006: Preliminary construction on the West 65th Street Project begins. The Promenade Project, a plan to renovate Josie Robertson Plaza and the Columbus Avenue frontage to the Lincoln Center campus, is announced.[13]
  • June 8, 2006: Lincoln Center announces plans to transform the nearby Harmony Atrium into a public space for the arts open to the public, neighbors, students, and center patrons.[13]
  • February 22, 2009: Alice Tully Hall reopens after redevelopment.[14]
  • September 30, 2009: Opening of the redesigned Charles H. Revson Fountain.[13]
  • May 21, 2010: Renovation plans of central and north plazas unveiled.[15]
  • June 4, 2012: Claire Tow Theater opens.[13]
  • October 1, 2012: The President's Bridge opens over West 65th Street.[16]
  • May 15, 2013: Jed Bernstein begins tenure as president.[17]
  • October 1, 2013: The New York City Opera files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and ceases operation.[18]
  • October 9, 2014: Thirty-six solar panels are installed on the roof of Lincoln Center's Rose Building as a part of the organization's initiative to go green.[13]
  • September 24, 2015: Avery Fisher Hall renamed David Geffen Hall.[19]
  • January 22, 2016: The New York City Opera resumes performances in the Rose Theater.[20]
  • November 16, 2016: Debora Spar becomes Lincoln Center's first woman president after the sudden departure of Jed Bernstein.[21][22]
  • September 3, 2019: Allison Allen was hired as Chief People Officer, a newly-created position to lead human resources functions with a core focus on implementation of LCPA's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plan.[23]

Construction milestones

In 1955, the first city institution to commit to be part of the Lincoln Square Renewal Project, an effort to revitalize the city's west side with a new performing arts complex that would become the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, was the Fordham Law School of Fordham University.[24] In 1961, Fordham Law School was the first building to open as part of the renewal project, and in 1968, Fordham College at Lincoln Center welcomed its first students.[24]

The development of the condominium at 3 Lincoln Center,[25] completed in 1991, designed by Lee Jablin of Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet.[25][26][27]

The center's cultural institutions also have since made use of facilities located away from the main campus. In 2004, the center 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.[13] 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.[16]


When first announced in 1999, Lincoln Center's campuswide redevelopment was to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years and radically transform the campus.[28] The center management held an architectural competition, won by the British architect Norman Foster in 2005, but did not approve a full scale redesign 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.[29][30] 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.[31]

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[32] were the construction managers for the projects.[33][34] 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.

Buildings of Lincoln Center

Buildings and structures in Lincoln Center:
Clark Studio Theater; Samuel B. and David Rose Building; Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse; Walter Reade Theater
Juilliard School
Alice Tully Hall
Claire Tow Theater; Lincoln Center Theater; LCT3 Theater; Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater; Vivian Beaumont Theater
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
David Geffen Hall
Bruno Walter Auditorium; New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Metropolitan Opera House
Josie Robertson Plaza; Revson Fountain
Damrosch Park
David H. Koch Theater
David Rubenstein Atrium
Jazz at Lincoln Center


Architects who designed buildings at the center include:

Constituent structures

Auditorium of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Interior of the David Geffen Hall before a concert by the New York Philharmonic
Interior of the David H. Koch Theater

The center has 30 indoor and outdoor performance facilities including:

Resident organizations

The center serves as home for twelve resident arts organizations:[46]

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) is one of the twelve 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.[46][47]

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.[48]

Cultural Innovation Fund

Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund is the first of its kind as a grant program that seeks to make the arts accessible to all people, focusing on those who live in some of New York City's poorest neighborhoods.[49] Partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation, the new pilot grant program offers one-time grants to non-profit organizations to provide cultural activities in these communities in the diverse neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx.[50] Each of the 12 grantees will receive support and financial backing for their project based on organizational budget size. These are one-year long projects, and grant amounts range from $50,000-$100,000.[50] The over-all goal of the program is to support non-profit organizations in creating cultural innovative strategies that cultivate participation in the arts as well as increase the range and availability of cultural activities to underserved communities.[51]

In popular culture

Lincoln Center is featured in multiple works of art and media. Examples include:


  • A Thousand Clowns (1965), Shown while under construction
  • No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), in which Kate Palmer (Lee Remick) works there as a tour guide
  • The Producers (1968), in which the theatrical producers Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) and Leo Bloom (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
  • Ghostbusters (1984), Peter meets Dana by the fountain after her rehearsal with a guest conductor
  • Pitch Perfect (2012), in which the final competition takes place at Lincoln Center
  • John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), in which a shootout takes place in the plaza before moving into the Subway

See also



  1. ^ a b "Lincoln Center". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Rockefeller Philanthropy: Lincoln Center" (PDF format).
  3. ^ Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. ISBN 9780813336619, ISBN 9780813336626. OCLC 47867623.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Archive 1960s | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Collins, Glenn (May 11, 2009). "50 Years In, Lincoln Center's Name Is Still a Mystery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Collins, Glenn (May 11, 2009). "50 Years In, Center's Name Is Still a Mystery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d "Archive 1950s | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Archive 1970s | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Davis, Janet M. (January 17, 2017). "Farewell Ringling Bros., but the circus isn't dead". CNN. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Archive 1980s | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d "Archive 1990s | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archive Today | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Sisario, Ben. (May 6, 2008) "Tully Hall to Reopen in 2009 With Eclectic Music Festival" The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  15. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (May 20, 2010). "The Greening of Lincoln Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  16. ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin. (October 1, 2012) "New Bridge at Lincoln Center to Open Monday". The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  17. ^ Pogrebin, Robin. "Lincoln Center Turns to Broadway for Its Next Chief". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "New York City Opera To File For Bankruptcy". Billboard. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Smith Jennifer (September 24, 2015) "Lincoln Center Concert Hall Renamed for David Geffen". The Wall Street Journal Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  20. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (January 25, 2016). "New York City Opera's resurrection may be right". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Appoints Debora L. Spar as President and CEO" (Press release). Lincoln Center. November 16, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ Morgan, Richard (May 5, 2016). "The bosses who got screwed for boning in the corner office". New York Post. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Press Release | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ a b L, Ekins Dianna. "History". Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ a b Goldberger, Paul (July 28, 1991). "Architecture View". The New York Times.
  26. ^ Gill, Brendan (August 19, 1991). "The Skyline". The New Yorker. pp. 57–60.
  27. ^ Bosco, Pearl (November 1989). "Three Lincoln Center". Institute for Urban Design. Project Monograph. Vol. 2, No. 4.
  28. ^ Robin Pogrebin (May 8, 2003), "Lincoln Center Proceeds, Modestly". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (November 28, 2012), "Avery Fisher Hall to Be Renovated". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Polsky, Sarah. (November 29, 2012) "Avery Fisher Hall Will Finally Get Its Long-Delayed Makeover" Curbed NY
  31. ^ Pogrebin, Robin. (June 19, 2003), "Costs and Approach Disputed in Lincoln Center Redevelopment". The New York Times.
  32. ^ "RCDolner Construction". May 11, 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (August 17, 2006). "On 65th Street, Glimpsing Lincoln Center's Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  34. ^ "Transforming Lincoln Center" on Lincoln Center website Archived May 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ a b "Transforming Lincoln Center: Architecture and Design". Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  36. ^ "Lincoln Center: New Public Spaces and Amenities" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Lincoln Center: Alice Tully Hall Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  38. ^ a b "Lincoln Center: West 65th Street Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  39. ^ a b c d "Lincoln Center: Josie Robertson Plaza / Columbus Avenue" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  40. ^ a b c "Lincoln Center Revson Fountain Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ "Lincoln Center: President's Bridge at Lincoln Center" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  42. ^ a b "Lincoln Center: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ See Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at the Internet Off-Broadway Database for a list of productions in the venue.
  44. ^ Pogrebin, Robin. (October 8, 2013) "$4 Million Grant to Help Rebrand Lincoln Center Institute" The New York Times Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  45. ^ "Map of Lincoln Center" Archived July 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  46. ^ a b "What Is Lincoln Center, and What Is a Resident Organization?". Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Retrieved 2017.
  47. ^ "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.
  48. ^ [dead link] Maul, Kimberly (July 27, 2006). "Wiley and Lincoln Center Dance Together"[permanent dead link]. The Book Standard.
  49. ^ Center, Foundation. "Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund Awards Innovation Fund Grants". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2017.
  50. ^ a b "Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund". Lincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund. Retrieved 2019.
  51. ^ "Press Release | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2017.


External links

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