Special Events

A 60th Birthday Party Only Lincoln Center Could Throw

It’s Lincoln Center’s birthday, but the gift is for you at this talent-stocked, daylong celebration of performance art.

Photo by Kevin Yatarola/Courtesy of Lincoln Cnter

In the 60 years since its founding, New York’s Lincoln Center has blossomed into a national treasure. It was the first modern performing arts center and still stands as the largest, most active, best funded, most capacious, and most influential cultural hub, not only in the U.S. but likely the world. It’s also among the most diverse in terms of genre of arts presented, which can be a problem when you’re trying to commemorate LC’s many august branches—Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic, and Chamber Music Society among them—all at once. Amply honoring that quality and variety is the goal of Lincoln Center’s 60th Anniversary Block Party, the free event for the organization’s yearlong birthday celebration.

Groundbreaking ceremony, May 14, 1959. / Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center

Global Music

In a nod to NYC’s ethnic and national diversity, Lincoln Center has always been one of the best places to hear global sounds, especially at the organization’s annual summer festivals, Out of Doors and Midsummer Night Swing. You’re invited to take a musical tour around the world at outdoor performances with Lincoln Center alumni, including sets from the all-female samba drum line Fogo Azul (née Batala NYC) at 10:45 a.m.; Brookyn-based, Haitian-inspired marching band Plezi Rara at 11 a.m.; and a 30-member expanded lineup of the bhangra/world-pop fusion ensemble Red Baraat at 1 p.m. Red Baraat musical director Sunny Jain will wrap things up with a massive, multiband jam featuring all the day’s performers, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Sachyn Mital/Lincoln Center

Classical Performance

Of course, if your tastes run more toward the highbrow, Lincoln Center always has you covered. At 11 a.m., New York City Ballet will present a talk-back with the company’s dancers and movement excerpts from upcoming shows at the David H. Koch Theater. Also at 11, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center violinist Kristin Lee and pianist Giles Vonsattel will offer an intimate hour of selections by Ravel, Gershwin, and Mendelssohn at the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio. At that same venue, African-American–led company Opera Noire of New York will perform selections from its program, The Chorale, starting at 12:15 p.m. The party closes at the David Rubenstein Atrium with a performance by members of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra previewing highlights from its upcoming season.

Family Fun

For families looking for weekend fun, the Block Party offers a number of all-ages, artist-led craft-making stations and an 11 a.m. children’s show (ages 2–5) at the David Rubenstein Atrium, featuring the acclaimed Grammy-nominated singer and interpreter of Indian classical music Falu Shah. And don’t miss the always exciting step-dancing performance at noon from Step It Up NYC, a citywide program serving youth ages 10–20.

At 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Metropolitan Opera will open its massive lobby to the public for an Instagram-friendly viewing of the building’s awe-inspiring selection of wall-size art from Cecily Brown and Marc Chagall. (Selfies and/or family photos on the iconic red-carpeted stairs are encouraged.)

Photo by Stephanie Berger/Courtesy of Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center’s 60th Anniversary Block Party
Lincoln Center campus (between West 62nd to 66th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)
Upper West Side
Saturday, May 4
10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Partying all day can be exhausting. Good thing we have the perfect places to unwind before and after the festivities.