We were already excited about Lincoln Center’s giant outdoor performing arts center for concerts, plays and more this spring & summer, but now a giant park space has been added to the mix!
As part of their Restart Stages program, Lincoln Center has just turned its iconic Josie Robertson Plaza into an enormous green space for all New Yorkers to enjoy called “The GREEN,” which officially opens to the public today May 10!
They commissioned celebrated set designer and MacArthur Genius grantee Mimi Lien to transform the area, turning the 14,000-square-foot concrete space surrounding the famous Revson Fountain into a comfortable and relaxing park-like spot for New Yorkers. Face coverings will be required and everyone must remain six feet apart at all times.
“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.
So what are some of the exciting features the park will entail? A pop-up library from NYPL where you can borrow books to read in the sun, a snack bar so you can grab a coffee or set up for a picnic (plus a selection of food trucks from minority & women-owned businesses nearby on campus), AND fantastic pop-up performances in the space from music to dance to a series of family performances and workshops.
“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 continued.
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.
Though it will practically be another park for city dwellers to relax in, it will not be made with real grass. Instead, The Green will feature a recyclable, biobased material very similar to grass called “SYNLawn.” It’s made from high soy content, fully sourced from U.S. farmers.
And trust us, this isn’t your average turf. It feels so soft and similar to real grass! Mimi said that though they considered using real grass, it wouldn’t have been as accessible for all New Yorkers since it would require eight inches of dirt and gravel (so it would be somewhat elevated/require a step-up). She also didn’t want it to end up in a landfill when removed, and instead the synthetic grass will be donated to an organization that helps creates playgrounds for in-need communities upstate.
“The GREEN” will be open May 10 through September 2021, 9 a.m.– midnight. Safety measures will be in place, and will be updated as health guidance from government officials evolves, like required face coverings, social distancing, and regular disinfecting.
And there’s even more excitement for the Restart Stages program. Lincoln Center is utilizing its entire campus to create multiple temporary stages, which you can see examples of below. There will even be a Parisian-inspired “underground jazz club” in a revamped parking area.
See the lineup for the rest of the month and get your free tickets on their website here.
Restart Stages is made possible by the generous support of the Lincoln Center Board of Directors and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as part of the SNF-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative.
featured image source: Claire Leaden for SecretNYC