Monday, August 01, 2011


If you need a place to get out of the heat and be with your laptop, book, or the company of friends, I highly recommend the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center between 62nd and 63rd Streets on Broadway. There, you will find a most pleasant public space which features Wi-Fi access, a fountain, wall plants, 'Wichcraft for sandwiches and salads, and the opportunity to purchase half-price tickets for cultural events.

Events taking place in the Atrium on Thursdays are FREE.

After several times of going to the Atrium, I decided to go on one of their guided tours of Lincoln Center. Our guide was Judy, who was full of good information, and the other folks on the tour were from other countries. (My only suggestion is that they have translators on hand.)

Here's some of the fun facts I learned during the tour:

The David Rubenstein Atrium

Like other buildings at Lincoln Center, it's named after someone who gave a ton of money. As Judy pointed out, in the United States the government gives very little money to the arts so as a country we rely heavily on private donors. The atrium is known as a POPS - a privately-owned public space. Which means that since the space can be used by the public, there are tax breaks involved.

This particular space has been all kinds of things over the years, including a place where folks like Charlie Chaplin were performing. In more recent years, it was home to a rock climbing wall.

The wall decor consists of a huge work made out of wool, and the artists owns the sheep. Bonus: the wool absorbs sound! There are also a couple of vertical gardens, which are made up of thousands of plants and definitely add to the peaceful feeling of the place.

Lincoln Center (on the whole)

* Celebrated its 50th birthday in 2009
* Spans 16 acres of land
* Is home to 9 million visitors per years
* Has 9 thousand employees
* Recently had a $1.2 billion renovation
* The renovation included a makeover of its famous outdoor fountain. This fountain, a gift of the Revson family (of Revlon fame) serves as the meeting place * for people in real life and people in the movies.

Avery Fisher Hall

* Built in 1962, it was originally called Philharmonic Hall
* Home to the NY Philharmonic
* First building that went up at Lincoln Center
* Everything in it is designed for acoustical enhancement
* Bernstein, its first conductor, started out as a substitute for another conductor!
* West Side Story was filmed here
* There are 2700 seats
* In the early 70s, Avery Fisher, an owner of an electronics company, came along and gave $10 million to fix acoustical problems in the building
* AFH relies on ticket sales and private donors to keep going
* Its current conductor, Alan Gilbert, is a younger man and helps to bring in a younger audience
* His mom is the first violinist
* The hall can be rented by any group or organization

The Lincoln Center Theater

* Home to these theatres: the Beaumont, the Newhouse, the LCT3 and Claire Tow
* LCT3 was built to promote new artists
* The Vivian Beaumont Theater is a Greek amphitheater with 3 quarter wrap around seating
* The stage thrusts out into the audience
* It is a Broadway theater with 1100 seats, and is the largest stage in Broadway
Its current show, The War Horse, is based on a children's story that was written in the 1980s
* There are lockers outside the theater where you can store your stuff (genius!)
Julliard (closed to public on day of the tour so we could not see inside)
* Only 6% of applicants are admitted to the school
* It was started by the Damrosch family

The Metropolitan Opera House (closed to public on day of tour so we could just see part of the lobby)

* There are 21 chandeliers made of Swaroski crystals
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