Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lincoln Restaurant and Lawn

How many restaurants do you know of where you can walk on the roof? Lincoln, the ultra expensive new stand alone restaurant at Lincoln Center (average check for a glass of wine and two courses is $120 per person), offers a steeply angled 10,000-square-foot rooftop swath of green for picnics and sunning. I’m not making this up.

The 147-by-70-foot lawn offers much needed green space to the Lincoln Center campus, which has undergone a recent transformation with a price tag of more than a billion dollars. That’s billion with a “B.” They hired the firm behind the Bellagio fountains in Vegas to rework the Lincoln Center plaza fountain, and new wide steps leading up from Broadway have risers that have LCD lights spelling out promotions.

The Henry Moore sculptures, reflecting pool and grass-roofed restaurant, looking toward the Juilliard School. A corner of Avery Fisher Hall is on the right.

The southwest edge of the restaurant roof is at plaza level, but ascends up nine grassy steps to 23 feet in height. The tall grass surface (90 percent fescue, 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass) is energy-saving, temperature-regulating, and storm-water-absorbing. The restaurant structure straddles the steps that connect Avery Fisher Hall and the Vivian Beaumont Theater, descending from the plaza level down to West 65th Street, facing a reworked Juilliard building and Alice Tully Hall.

The scene from an upper floor of the Juilliard Building looking across W. 65th St. toward the Met. Avery Fisher Hall is to the left, the Vivian Beaumont Theater to the right.

The grass roof lies just a few feet above the restaurant's wood slat ceiling (shown below right)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grand Central Terminal Laser Light Show

See a spectacular kaleidoscope light show displayed against the famous Zodiac ceiling, walls and pillars of Grand Central Terminal, the world's largest train station. The light show is a holiday tradition established in 1999 and is enough to stop even the most frazzled and jaded commuters in their tracks.

To the strains of Duke Ellington’s “Take The A-Train,” lasers on the ceiling show two commuter trains arriving from opposite directions. The trains pull to a stop, and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the other train. Then a laser beam traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling. The crab (Cancer) leaps to life and becomes a train conductor, sidling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeer's ticket stubs with its claws.

Delighted tourists hold on to each other as they lean over backward to gaze at the overhead display. Another show starts. The familiar music of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite fills the enormous room. As “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” begins, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling. The show ends with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over the heads of the commuters and tourists. Cell phones come out of purses and pockets as tiny flashes capture affectionate real-life kisses and lingering hugs by those who just watched the show. Ah – Christmas in New York City!

Main Concourse, from December 1, 2010 through January 1, 2011, every half hour between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. daily. FREE!

Grand Central Terminal: 87 East 42nd Street