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Bravo, Lincoln Center

The troubled redesign of Lincoln Center has had more lives than a cat, but it finally seems to be on the right track. Today, Lincoln Center announced the first stage of redevelopment, a stunning transformation of West 65th St between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The $325 million project will turn the desolate street into the complex's "dynamic front door."

I must admit I had my doubts that West 65th was capable of the dramatic improvements promised for it, but the photos on Lincoln Center's website convinced me. Some highlights from the press release:

The West 65th Street project will feature new street-level entrances, transparent street-level facades, dramatic lighting, elegant modernist variations on the traditional theater marquee, and informational and directional signage to give a strong street identity to each of the seven constituents and facilitate visitor orientation. The cultural corridor will also provide easy access to new indoor and outdoor facilities for dining and refreshments.....

The street would be narrowed, eliminating one car lane. The curb cuts in the center of the block also would be removed. On the south side of the street, the sidewalk would be expanded to 27 feet in width, creating a safer pedestrian street environment for the thousands of pedestrians who throng across the street in the pre-theater hour. A narrow, translucent footbridge that opens up the street to sunlight and enhances visibility would span West 65th Street and provide safe and easy access for Juilliard and School of American Ballet students. Paul Milstein Plaza could be configured to encompass the reflecting pool and terrace in the North Plaza, further enhancing the overall unity of the new design.....

At street level along West 65th Street, the now solid travertine base of the [Juilliard] school will be opened up with a transparent new facade. This facade will reveal Juilliard's theaters and their lobbies and frame a sweeping grand stair to a welcoming, light-filled lobby and student lounge on the second floor overlooking the rest of the Lincoln Center campus. High technology graphic displays incorporated into the facade would provide comprehensive event information on the hundreds of free public presentations offered by Juilliard.

Now, let's see them raise the money!

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