4. Lincoln Center’s blades—digital advertising signs—lining the south side of 65th Street are themselves works of art, made possible by the reconfiguration of the street.
Blades on 65th Street: Jazz at LC, Juilliard, King and I
Even though Lincoln Center reaped tremendous revenue from its underground parking garages—among the largest in NYC—it gave up 100 parking spaces as it reconfigured 65th Street. Levy points out it converted what had been a long stretch of garage entrances and exits, loading docks, and service corridors into an inviting, foot-trafic friendly street of the arts. It’s an amazing achievement that may be lost to history as memories of the old, dark, hostile, car-clogged street fade.
And look at what we have now: a wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalk with round-the-clock blades providing much-needed light as well as information and beauty. One series of blades features current star performers, another iconic images such as hands clapping or conducting, and yet another dramatic images of different programs, such as Head Shots or Theatre of Nations. Some blades are informational, giving ticket availability and performance dates. Often one compelling image with no words—musicians playing or a dancer dancing—is repeated the length of the street, providing an elegant unity. The side of the blades facing oncoming traffic have far more subdued lighting and design than those facing east, for safety reasons. This is the new Lincoln Center: simultaneously helpful, practical, welcoming, and gorgeous.