Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 16.3-acre 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.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. 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.
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. The center's three buildings, David Geffen Hall, David H. Koch 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. 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's.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, completed in 1991, designed by Lee Jablin, Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of american Ballet.
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. When it was first announced in 1999, Lincoln Center's campuswide redevelopment was to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years and 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. 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.
In March 2006, the center launched the 65th Street Project 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 were the construction managers for the projects. 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.