Lincoln Square Is Lit! Two Light Shows Brighten the Night and Mood

A leap of faith.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Those experiencing a “dark” winter might want to take an evening stroll around the Lincoln Square section of the neighborhood, where two installations are lighting up the night.

Amid the foliage of the Broadway malls, from Columbus Circle to 70th Street, 10 “spirit figures,” made of lights that glitter like diamonds, leap and tumble their way to Dante Park at 63rd Street, where they converge, across the street from Lincoln Center, which is also aglow.

The installation, called “Tumbling Brights,” was commissioned by the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District (BID), “to lift the spirits of residents and visitors to our neighborhood, and serve as a source of strength and inspiration to help us all through these challenging times,” said Monica Blum, president of the BID. “We took a leap of faith when we first started because…this is a big change.”

For the past 20 years, the BID has hosted Winter’s Eve, a multi-block holiday party, featuring food and drink from local restaurants, music, dancing, street theater, and other festivities. It was cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Getting ready to do a cartwheel?

“Emerging from darkness into the light became a key theme of this installation, and we are proud to support the Lincoln Square BID’s message of hope and resilience,” said Seth Tillett who designed the show, with his sister Linnaea Tillett. “Inspired by the neighborhood, the design also represents a show of solidarity for the arts and culture community and the hope that the lights of Lincoln Square’s performing arts culture will return stronger and brighter than ever before,” according to a press release. The show will run through February 28th.

“We felt that a flow of figures uptown from Columbus Circle and downtown from 70th street would deliver a dynamic gathering of spirits to Dante Park,” Tillett said. “While best known for The Inferno, Dante’s most luminous words are reserved for Paradise and the ceaselessly revolving lights of the heavens.

Photo by Filip Wolak, courtesy of Lincoln Square BID.

The statue of Dante is illuminated by “a constellation of stars.”

“Make sure you wait until dark for the best view and cross back and forth on Broadway because the views are different,” Blum advised.

And make sure your walk includes the plaza and campus of Lincoln Center across the street, which is also lit this holiday season.

Photographs courtesy of Lincoln Center.

“Elements of the installation include illumination of Josie Robertson Plaza, alternating between a warm and cool-colored light display; floating lanterns on the Paul Milstein Reflecting Pool in Hearst Plaza; and lights on trees throughout the campus,” a release said. There is also a new pair of murals on Amsterdam Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Streets. The installations become viewable around dusk and throughout the night, and will be on display through the New Year. Lincoln Center’s outdoor spaces are open to the public from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. Visitors are required to maintain social distance and wear a face covering when on campus.

ART, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Nevada Rancher says:

      honestly….it looks like children jumping into traffic 😛

    2. HelenD says:

      I would love to see some of these things that are only available from dusk onward…but…do I really want to be walking around there at night? 🙁

      • MaryC says:

        Light displays are for viewing when it’s dark which these days is before 5pm.
        And are you really afraid of walking around Lincoln Center in the evening? That surprises me, but everyone’s different.

        • Cameron G Rose says:

          Lincoln Center is very safe almost completely crime free. The area is well lit and they are security cameras. Wide open spaces, patrolled by security. I mean I wouldn’t just hang out there at 3am but 6pm? Why not?

    3. nyc10023 says:

      I’d rather have the trees lit in the medians.

      These look like stick figures falling to their death from the sky.

    4. Linda says:

      They look beautiful!

    5. Be uplifting. It's contagious. says:

      Does anyone ever say anything positive on this site? Really! This place is the last respite for carmudgeons.

      I challenge everyone to start to look at posts here with an eye as to whether the comment is positive or negative. You will be perhaps saddened by your conclusion.

      If you can’t say anything nice…. Life is too short!

      • lynn says:

        I understand what you’re saying, but I have to admit that I find it very funny when the longest (and usually the most negative) threads are about bagels and sandwiches. 😉

      • Eff Shtopp says:

        Re: “If you can’t say anything nice…. Life is too short!”
        I TRIED to say something nice, in reply to EGF (above) about the floating lanterns, but it never appeared.
        Second try:
        “…the “floating lanterns” are NOT “sloppy” and ARE “very holiday-like”.
        Especially for the “fine-art” photographer (Google it) who would turn those great night-time reflections into artistic photographs.”

    6. I like them; I’m going to have to see them in real life.

      I’ve been watching videos on my small YouTube monitor lit by the shimmering wonder that was Ann Reinking… and I could stand to get out for awhile right about now (if the snow and wind don’t blow me away) and see if some shimmering light from a different source in this dark time might bring me some small measure of cheer…

    7. Irate Partisan says:

      “Tumbling Brights” looks like the Blair Witch Project.

    8. 2 nickels says:

      I do appreciate the effort as well but miss the trees that were once decorated inside Lincoln Center and Dante Park. To me, the lighted stick figures look frightening, shocking, and not festive.

    9. LivableCity says:

      Was delighted to see, after reading all these whiny comments, a pretty view down Broadway in the early hours of the storm last evening – featuring a starry sparkly lit figure and its cheery echoes along several blocks southward gleaming against the dark roads and through the blowy snow. I thought, good for the BID! Thank you for brightening a dark cold evening’s errands with these festive figures! I think they are like starry bright dancers in the dark streets. Very fun and active and uplifting.