NYC’s Lincoln Center Is Turning Into a Massive Lawn for the Summer

Lincoln Center's never looked so green.

A rendering of The Green at Lincoln Center
Photo: Designed by Mimi Lien/Rendering by Timothy Leung

New York City's performing arts industry is coming back, and you might notice a few changes to Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced on Tuesday that it is commissioning Mimi Lien, set designer and MacArthur Genius grantee, to reimagine Josie Robertson Plaza as a green space where people can relax and enjoy some pop-up performances.

Called "The GREEN," this revamped space is part of Lincoln Center's Restart Stages initiative to help kickstart New York City's arts industry. After over a year without Broadway shows, music performances, and visual installations, art lovers are eager to get back to enjoying everything that they love about the city.

"The arts can be the centerpiece of New York's economic, social, and spiritual revival — a powerful vehicle to reconnect as we enter the spring season," said Henry Timms, president & CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in a statement. "We're thrilled to launch 'The GREEN,' a space for New Yorkers to re-energize, and find inspiration and uplift. We're very grateful to Mimi Lien, our partners across Lincoln Center, and everyone across the city helping build this Restart Stages vision."

The GREEN covers the 14,000 square foot plaza in a grass-like material where anyone can sit, according to Mimi Lien in a statement through Lincoln Center.

"In the past, Josie Robertson Plaza has been a space that you walk through in order to see a performance, to get to the Library, or even to admire the fountain for a bit, but I dreamt of making it a space of inhabitation, of pleasure, and of rest," Lien added. "I wanted to make a place where you could lie on a grassy slope and read a book all afternoon. Get a coffee and sit in the sun. Bring your babies and frolic in the grass. Have a picnic lunch with co-workers. I hope that this curved grass surface will feel like an embrace and an expanse at the same time, and will reimagine the Plaza as a site of social infrastructure, like a town green — a place to gather, a common ground."

The GREEN will use recyclable, biobased SYNLawn, provided by SYNLawn New York, according to the statement. The material is sourced from U.S. soy farmers and fabricated by Hudson Scenic Studio.

Once visitors find a place on The GREEN, they can find books available for borrowing through the New York Public Library, a small snack bar, and some pop-up performances throughout the summer and fall including dance, music, and family-oriented workshops.

"Remaking this space is an invitation to New Yorkers to see their surroundings in new ways, to rethink public spaces so that they truly welcome and work for everyone. Making the familiar unfamiliar as a catalyst for necessary change is one of the most important roles art can play, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is very proud to be a part of this effort," said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos, "We can't wait to experience, along with everyone else in the city, what Mimi Lien and Lincoln Center create."

The GREEN will be open May 10 through September 2021, between 9 a.m. and midnight every day. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on, adhering to health and safety guidelines is required for all visitors, including wearing masks, keeping their space clean, and social distancing.

For more information about The GREEN, visit the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts website.

Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.

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