Lincoln Center’s famous plaza will become a massive public lawn

Posted On Tue, April 13, 2021 By

Posted On Tue, April 13, 2021 By In Art, Events, Upper West Side 

“The GREEN” designed by Mimi Lien; rendering by Timothy Leung.

As part of the Restart Stages initiative that’s transforming its 16-acre campus into 10 new outdoor performance venues, Lincoln Center has announced a public installation called “The GREEN.” Commissioned by celebrated set designer and MacArthur Genius grantee Mimi Lien, the installation will transform Lincoln Center’s iconic Josie Robertson Plaza into an expansive green space open to all New Yorkers. When it opens on May 10, the lawn will offer books for borrowing from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, a snack bar, and pop-up performances throughout the summer and fall.

As a press release explains, “The installation acts as the physical centerpiece of Restart Stages…” This program was first announced in early March as part of the state’s NY PopsUp initiative, which is working to revitalize the arts industry through hundreds of outdoor performances.

“When invited to consider how the physical space of Josie Robertson Plaza could be re-envisioned to be a more inclusive and inviting environment, I immediately thought that by changing the ground surface from hard paving stones with no seating to a material like grass, suddenly anyone would be able to sit anywhere,” said Mimi Lien. She added, “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.”

Mimi has a background in architecture and designs sets for theater, dance, and opera, often focusing on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer.

The GREEN will be constructed of recyclable, biobased SYNLawn, a grass-like material that has a high soy content, fully sourced from U.S. farmers. When Restart Stages ends, SYNLawn New York will upcycle “The GREEN” material for use on playgrounds for at-risk youth in upstate New York.


Lincoln Center Restart Stages with the New York Philharmonic performs a concert for essential workers in the Grove on Lincoln Center Plaza on April 7, 2021. Photo © Stephanie Berger.

Other outdoor venues at Lincoln Center will include a “cabaret-style” stage on Hearst Plaza, a family area with art activities for children, rehearsal space open to the public, and space for public school graduations. Restart Stages launched on World Health Day, April 7, with a special performance for healthcare workers by the New York Philharmonic. Other events will feature Lincoln Center’s constituent organizations, including outdoor performances of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, film screenings from Film at Lincoln Center, a concert and cabaret series by Lincoln Center Theater, and dance workshops from New York City Ballet. You can see the full schedule of events here.

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