Lincoln Center To Be Filled with Grass-Like Carpet That People Can Chill Out On

Lincoln Center is slowing reopening to the public, even if most of its famous indoor performance spaces remain closed until the Fall. And the nonprofit is now inviting the public back with a new installation that will cover the entire central Josie Robertson Plaza off of 64th and Broadway.

Artist Mimi Lien will install a 14,000 square foot synthetic grass carpet in the plaza, and there will be some amenities added too, including a snack bar and a lending library from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. In addition, Lincoln Center will be holding performances through its “Restart Stages” program. That program started on April 7 with a tribute concert for emergency workers, but so far the organization hasn’t released a schedule of when further performances will be held. The website for it is here.

As for the lawn, it’s mostly soy: “The GREEN” will be constructed of recyclable, biobased SYNLawn, provided by SYNLawn New York. The grass-like material has a high soy content, fully sourced from U.S. farmers. Fabrication is being provided by Hudson Scenic Studio.”

It will be up from May 10 through September, 9 a.m. to midnight. “A variety of safety protocols will be in place, following recommended guidelines as the public health situation evolves—including, but not limited to, required face coverings, social distancing, and regular cleaning of the space.”

ART, OUTDOORS | 66 comments | permalink
    1. UWSer says:

      April Fools?

    2. EdNY says:

      Oy.

    3. Bz says:

      This is a joke. Right?

    4. Jay says:

      I guess that’s one way to hide the sheared red granite paving blocks, which are way too thin for the purpose.

    5. lynn says:

      Very surreal. It reminds me of the Time Machine when George goes into the future and everything has been overrun by nature.

      • Jay says:

        lynn:

        I was thinking “Logan’s Run”, but I realize there’d need to be a dome.

        • lynn says:

          Jay, dome or not, Logan’s Run is still another great example! 🙂

          • Jay says:

            lynn:

            The sky in this image is more like “Truman Show”, perfect and continuous, no clouds, and just the slight whitening to hint at a horizon, but still a dome.

            I wonder what will happen to people over 35 if they enter the zone?

            • lynn says:

              Jay, good catch on the sky! In regard to LR though I think the age limit is actually 30, so I may need to steer clear of LC until the updates are more specific, lol. 😉

    6. Peter says:

      Hate the green. (What was the gripe-du-jour – there are TWO world-class parks within walking distance!)

      Make it purple. Bright orange. Rainbows and unicorns. Mix it up a little.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Don’t believe they offer bright orange. rainbows and unicorns colored faux grass.

    7. Tom says:

      Should make real grass and trees a permanent addition. That plaza is cold and uninviting.

      • EdNY says:

        Except that pre-and post-performances, the entire plaza is filled with people walking. Putting down sections of grass would reduce the pedestrian spaces and cause more crowding.

      • Josh P. says:

        A classic Robert Moses project! Lots of concrete. They’ve done a decent job over the years of making it a little more human scaled but they are fighting an uphill battle.

        • Jay says:

          Josh P:

          At plaza level, there is very little visible concrete around Lincoln Center, most would be in the benches around the new copse on the north side of the Metropolitan Opera.

          Some of the scene towers protruding from roof tops may be raw concrete, say that of the Theatre at Lincoln Center.

          RM had a hand in the approval of the “clearance” for Lincoln Center, but he did not directly build it.

          Architects like Philip Johnson and Harrison (the architect for Rockefeller Center) are largely responsible for the designs from the 1960s.

      • Anita says:

        Tom, you said it!!

      • Gary says:

        Yes!

    8. S. Hayes says:

      Lincoln Center has… Silent Green!

    9. Erica says:

      Love it! My kids and I already enjoy spending evenings there, watching the fountain. It will be great to have grass to sit on, albeit fake. I look forward to the lending library as well. Thanks for the news, WSR.

    10. Tim says:

      It’s a temporary summer installation, so I’m treating it like an art exhibit. Geffen Hall is under construction so it’s a mess over there, and it will be nice to let people enjoy the plaza in a new way while there are no shows.

      Would I want this permanently? Probably not, but as a summer change, why not?

      • Jane says:

        Because it is hideous. Because you could have carried over a folding chair, blanket.. because it’s made of soybeans, plus “green?” green dye…

    11. georaven2000 says:

      Any word on bathroom facilities?

    12. Crankypants says:

      No one wants this.

      • Sam Katz says:

        You don’t speak for everyone. What an absurd concept! It would do well for people to eliminate words from their vocabulary like “no one.” I live across the street and think it will be a blast.

      • BonnieO says:

        Wow! You know absolutely everyone and you know what they all think. Awesome.

      • Trish Anderton says:

        I think it looks great! Can’t wait to chill out and catch a performance this summer.

    13. Kathy hammell says:

      Great – thanks for helping New Yorkers to be outside

    14. Larry K says:

      Is it edible?

    15. Chris B says:

      Amusing. That’s about all I can muster.

    16. Carnival Canticle says:

      Perhaps they should name it Soylent Green

      • jms says:

        You know, that’s inexactly what I said a couple days ago! But somehow, mysteriously, it didn’t get past our trusty Heimdall.

        It’s still people, people.

    17. Bj says:

      I hope it’s not as bad as it looks in the picture

    18. Kayson212 says:

      Teletubbies?

    19. Mr. Alarm says:

      They surely must know that people are going to climb on, walk on, sleep on, jump off of and probably try to skateboard those half pipe structures. I don’t know why LC has to keep modifying or temporarily tarnishing their beautifully designed public spaces.

    20. Susan says:

      I think it’s a great idea in the concrete jungle bring on the soothing green color. Also coming to that location the annual June Craft show, another welcome addition that like so many venues last year was cancelled. Roll out the green carpet this upper westsider will be there!

    21. Josh says:

      I’m beginning to dislike this Rag, because more than ever of late, I can safely assume there will be more moaning naysayers and curmudgeons than anything else. This looks whimsical and weird, and I welcome it during a time we can’t make much use of LC. I may even have a silly picnic with my stuffed animals, ’cause why not?!

      • Lorene Farnsworth says:

        I see what you mean, it looks cool to me, they should live where I live, that looks like heaven to me.

      • Pamela Bayless says:

        I so agree with you. Nothing but naysayers on WSR these days! You cranky ones should get out for more walks in a park. Thank you, Lincoln Center, for doing all you can to bring novelty and entertainment outdoors as we bide our time until you can open indoors.

    22. Lorene Farnsworth says:

      Nice!

    23. Gladys says:

      Synthetic grass is hot to touch in the sunlight and difficult to keep clean. Furthermore the materials that the synthetic grass consist of will blacken the sidewalk.
      Someone needs to do their due diligence on this synthetic grass

      • Brandon says:

        Yes thank goodness Mimi Lien, Lincoln Center, and the city have GLADYS to remind them of all the things that could possibly go wrong.

    24. Anthony Smith says:

      This, just possibly, the dumbest idea to ever come out of the Lincoln Center management – and THAT is saying a great deal. It will :1 ) be costly to install; 2) require maintenance; 3) will turn colors; 4) will be a pain in the neck to get rid of;5) no one will want to lie down on it with children, as it will inevitably live up to Ed Koch’s mantra, ” New Yorkers are slobs!” 5) dogs will pee and crap on it-we KNOW that! This is an idea who time will NEVER come! Kill it in the cradle-NOW!!

      • Brandon says:

        A kneejerk hostile reaction in the WSR comments? I don’t believe it!

        “Josh” above is correct about the inevitable negativity here toward anything new or different.

      • Sam Katz says:

        Why do people keep writing things like “no one wants this …?” What in God’s name would make anyone think he or she speaks for “everyone?” How many trillions of people are there in the world — and this is an international destination. You speak for one person only — yourself. You can never speak for anyone else. The whole notion of “no one wants this …” or “no one wants that …” is just absurd. I want it and I live across the street. So there!

      • Sam Katz says:

        And as for pee or crap or anything else … it’s grass, synthetic or not. If you want to witness people lying down on grass, just look at real grass. What’s the difference if it’s real or fake? You have no argument at all on that point. Guests are already lying down on the real grass slope at Lincoln Center as they do in Central Park and the other parks in NYC. There are more dogs and kids and adults on real grass than synthetic grass already doing the same things.

    25. Frank says:

      All everyone does in the comments is complain. It’s a great idea. It will be fun and different and bring people to see it. Think of it as an installation; it’s not permanent.

    26. jms says:

      How wonderful that it’s soy-based! Perhaps it’s fabricated from shredded, recycled Space Food Sticks™ — the little-known lime-flavored variety, hence the color. Which would make it AstroTurf™.

    27. LESNYC says:

      “Health concerns about synthetic turf are related to the “crumb rubber” used in the top layer of these products to provide extra padding and keep the “grass” upright. Crumb rubber is made from recycled tires and contains small amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as heavy metals (zinc, iron, manganese and lead). These chemicals can get into your body from direct skin contact with crumb rubber or from accidental ingestion, usually as a result of putting fingers in the mouth or from not washing hands before eating after playing on artificial turf. It also could result from breathing in dust and vapors from crumb rubber while playing on artificial fields or lawns.”
      https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/gardening/is-artificial-grass-toxic/

      https://www.cnn.com/2017/01/27/health/artificial-turf-cancer-study-profile/index.html

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2016/03/28/professor-identifies-cancer-causing-chemicals-in-artificial-turf/?sh=2771202b7bf3

    28. Linda Allen says:

      I hope there will be benches as well as “grass” to sit on, as sitting on the ground is difficult/impossible for elderly folks. It’s thoughtless to plan these community “improvements” as if all the world is young enough to sit on the grass.

      • Brandon says:

        Good news! Using your eyes, check out the rendering of the installation that WSR helpfully included at the top of the article.

        You’ll notice that there are a number of seating areas dotting the installation, so no need to cavil about “thoughtless” anti-senior planning.

        • Josh says:

          Just had to chime in that this comment wins the day (among a few others by Brandon — you’re my hero!), with due snark, calm wisdom, and use of “cavil.” You’re welcome to join my picnic on the green, come May.

    29. David N Schwartz says:

      I cannot believe this is being done. It is totally in conflict with the spirit and the visual integrity of the space. Utterly criminal.

    30. Sarah says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake. I’m sure we could all use a bit of whimsy this summer. It’s temporary! Without the performance traffic, it’s fine for them to try something.

      It’s challenging living in NYC where things you fall in love with are always changing or leaving, but if you want a world frozen in amber, it’s time to head upstate.

    31. Diana says:

      Gross, stupid, and completely tone deaf to the artists whose livelihoods come from this complex. Any investment in activity here should be an effort to support the artists who call this place home until it can open to the public. To put down a synthetic spread so people and their children can frolic is absurdly indulgent. And then, what, throw it away (please!) in the fall? Central Park is right down the block – with real grass, and everything! Go there!

      • Farnham says:

        Dogs allowed?

      • Jane says:

        Indeed. And, as I posted separately, it takes an “artist” to do this? And, I don’t know about you, but I’m up to HERE with soybean everything. Estrogen levels must be at an all-time high. All that farmland dedicated to soybeans, and not real food makes me sick.

        • Midwest Farmer's Daughter says:

          Soybeans are real food. Edamame, tofu, good old vegetable oil — all made with soybeans!

          And in general – For a neighborhood that likes to think of itself as liberal and cultured, the UWS has a lot of Philistines.

      • Brandon says:

        What are you talking about, “tone deaf”? Mimi Lien is a Tony Award-winning Broadway scenic designer, and the installation will be a central hosting area for Lincoln Center’s “Restart Stages” initiative. This could actually re-connect audiences with Lincoln Center in a way they have been unable to since the start of the pandemic and provide visibility for performers who have been out of work for so long.

        Have an opinion, but please be better informed. I think the ever-thoughtful Jane put it best: good greif.

      • Leigh says:

        Right?! It seems incredibly wasteful and unnecessary. Last thing this planet needs.

    32. Jane says:

      It takes an “artist” to do this? Good greif.

    33. yomama says:

      I don’t get it. Is it astroturf? Ew.

    34. Bob says:

      So many people are wondering what happens after performances. Well, duh, there are no performances happening at any of the halls until at least September.