9. The cherished Revson Fountain—where Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder frolicked and Bill Murray danced for Sigourney Weaver, among so many others—was nearly moved off center in the renovation.
Photograph used with permission from Ryan Southen Photography
Innovative architects that they are DS&R considered all possibilities with Lincoln Center’s fountain, but had they moved it physically off center or replaced it with a linear line of water, they probably would have faced war. Instead they produced a lighter, transparent, open fountain, lit from underneath at night, and opened up to allow water to flow to the edges. Wet Design, which specializes in the mechanics of water flow, was hired to program the fountain’s choreography.
Most visitors are enamored, but Andrew S. Dolkart, a professor of historic preservation at Columbia University, has his reservations. “Lincoln Center needed a kick,” he says, “but they should have looked way what was not working and fixed it, and looked at what did work and enhanced it. Why destroy Philip Johnson’s fountain?” As John Seabrook points out in the New Yorker, when the fountain opened in April 1964 it was the most technically advanced NYC had ever seen. But then its powers diminished, as the movies show.
One thing for sure: Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder would not be able to cavort on top of this fountain, as they did.