World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
The Metropolitan Opera House (left) and David Geffen Hall (right) at twilight
Location Manhattan, New York City, US
Public transit



Type Performing-arts center
Built 1955–1969
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 Manhattan in New York City. Jed Bernstein began as president in 2014.[1]


  • Planning 1
    • Architects 1.1
  • Facility history 2
    • Construction 2.1
    • Renovations 2.2
  • Timeline 3
  • Performance facilities at Lincoln Center 4
    • Other associated and local theaters and facilities 4.1
    • Resident organizations 4.2
    • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. 4.3
  • In popular culture 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[2] The center's three buildings, David Geffen 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 general-in-chief of the Union Army during the American Civil War and a bitter rival of Lincoln.[5]


Main plaza at the Center

Architects who designed buildings at the center include:

  • Max Abramovitz: David Geffen Hall
  • Pietro Belluschi: The Juilliard School (including Alice Tully Hall). Modified by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FX Fowle
  • Gordon Bunshaft: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  • Wallace Harrison: the center's master plan and the Metropolitan Opera House
  • Lee S Jablin: 3 Lincoln Center, the adjacent condominium built by a private developer
  • Philip Johnson: New York State Theater, now known as the David H. Koch Theater
  • Eero Saarinen: Vivian Beaumont Theater
  • Davis, Brody and Associates: The Samuel B. and David Rose Building.
  • Billie Tsien, Tod William: The David Rubenstein Atrium
  • Hugh Hardy/H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC: The Claire Tow Theater

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,[6] completed in 1991, designed by Lee Jablin, Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet.[6][7][8]

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.[9]


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.[10] There was an architectural competition, won by the British architect Norman Foster in 2005, but a full scale redesign was not approved until 2012, due, in part, to 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.[11][12] 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.[13]

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. The film center is part of a new pavilion that also houses a destination restaurant, Lincoln, offices, and is topped with a sloping lawn roof. 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[14] were the construction managers for the projects.[15][16] 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.


  • April 21, 1955: Lincoln Square designated for urban renewal.
  • June 22, 1956: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. incorporated.
  • May 14, 1959: Ground-breaking ceremony with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • September 23, 1962: Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) opened. A two-hour live CBS special, Opening Night at Lincoln Center, preserved the event on videotape.
  • April 6, 1964: Lincoln Center Fountain opened. Renamed the Revson Fountain
  • April 23, 1964: New York State Theater opened.
  • October 14, 1965: Vivian Beaumont Theater and the Forum (now Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater) opened.
  • November 30, 1965: The Library & Museum of the Performing Arts opened.
  • September 16, 1966: The Metropolitan Opera House opened.
  • May 22, 1969: Damrosch Park and the Guggenheim Band Shell opened.
  • September 11, 1969: Alice Tully Hall opened.
  • October 26, 1969: Juilliard School opened.
  • October 19, 1976: Avery Fisher Hall re-opened after renovation to improve acoustics.
  • December 4, 1981: The Big Apple Circus performed at its winter home in Damrosch Park for the first time. The circus has performed every winter at Lincoln Center ever since.
  • September 7, 1982: New York State Theater re-opened after renovation to improve acoustics.
  • September 2, 1986: Former Jewish Defense League National Chairman Victor Vancier throws a tear gas grenade during a performance of Soviet ballet in the Metropolitan Opera House as a protest against the Soviet practice of not letting its Jews emigrate to Israel.
  • November 19, 1990: The Samuel B. and David Rose Building opened; houses 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, and Juilliard School student residences, as well as office space for a number of the member organizations.
  • December 3, 1991: The Walter Reade Theater opened within the previously completed Samuel B. and David Rose Building.
  • July 12, 1997: The Paul Milstein Plaza dedicated.
  • October 18, 2004: Jazz at Lincoln Center opened.
  • March 2006: Preliminary construction on the West 65th Street Project begins
  • June 8, 2006: Plans for Lincoln Center to transform the nearby Harmony Atrium into a public space for the arts open to the public, neighbors, students, and Lincoln Center patrons are announced.
  • June 12, 2006: The Lincoln Center Promenade initiative to revitalize Lincoln Center's Columbus Avenue frontage and the iconic Josie Robertson Plaza is unveiled.
  • August 20, 2006: Paul Milstein Plaza dismantled as part of 65th Street Redevelopment project.
  • February 22, 2009: Alice Tully Hall reopens after redevelopment.[17]
  • May 21, 2010: Renovation of central and north plazas unveiled.[18]
  • June 4, 2012: Claire Tow Theater opened
  • October 1, 2012: The President's Bridge opened over West 65th Street.[9]
  • September 24, 2015: Avery Fisher Hall was renamed David Geffen Hall.[19]

Performance facilities at Lincoln Center

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:

Other associated and local theaters and facilities

Lincoln Square neighborhood at night
  • pipe organ which allows expanded organ repertoire
  • The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College: a theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; used for the Lincoln Center Festival and Great Performers series
  • Pope Auditorium: a theater located in Leon Lowenstein Hall of Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus (located across West 62nd Street from Lincoln Center)

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]

In popular culture

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, Bialystock and Bloom, played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, meet at the fountain to discuss their scheme.

See also



  1. ^ "New York Times | Lincoln Center Turns to Broadway for Its Next Chief". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Rockefeller Philanthropy: Lincoln Center" (PDF format; Adobe Reader required).
  3. ^ Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. ISBN 9780813336619, ISBN 9780813336626. OCLC 47867623.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Goldberger, Paul (July 28, 1991). "Architecture View". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Gill, Brendan (August 19, 1991). "The Skyline". The New Yorker. pp. 57–60.
  8. ^ Bosco, Pearl (November 1989). "Three Lincoln Center". Institute for Urban Design. Project Monograph. Vol. 2, No. 4.
  9. ^ a b "New York Times | New Bridge at Lincoln Center to Open Monday". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Robin Pogrebin (May 8, 2003), "Lincoln Center Proceeds, Modestly". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (November 28, 2012), "Avery Fisher Hall to Be Renovated". New York Times.
  12. ^ Polsky, Sarah. (November 29, 2012) "Avery Fisher Hall Will Finally Get Its Long-Delayed Makeover" Curbed NY
  13. ^ Robin Pogrebin, Robin. (June 19, 2003), "Costs and Approach Disputed in Lincoln Center Redevelopment". New York Times.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Transforming Lincoln Center" on Lincoln Center website
  17. ^ "New York Times | Tully Hall to Reopen in 2009 With Eclectic Music Festival". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Wall Street Journal | Lincoln Center Concert Hall Renamed for David Geffen". 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. ^ "New York Times | $4 Million Grant to Help Rebrand Lincoln Center Institute". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  22. ^ "Map of Lincoln Center". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  23. ^ a b "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.


  • Young, Edgar B. (1980). Lincoln Center: The Building of an Institution. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814796566. OCLC 6446862.

External links

  •, the center's official website
  • Lincoln Center with Patti LuPone—Documentary produced by Treasures of New York
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.