New York Philharmonic finds home at renovated Geffen Hall

David Alvarado

Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, undergoes a $550 million makeover, transforming a once generic concert hall into a one-of-a-kind upscale venue.

Geffen Hall’s revamp will be completed two years ahead of schedule, opening its doors to the public this October.

The venue was scheduled to open in March 2024 due to COVID-19 pandemic-related delays, but several large grants kept the center’s budget on track, ultimately speeding up infrastructure plans.

“We brought it forward two years, we built through the pandemic, we accelerated the project, and that took a lot of New York energy to get that job done,” Henry Timms, president and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, told Gothamist.

Some improvements include enhancing the acoustics. According to Curbed, seating is also reduced by 500 seats, resulting in a new seat quantity of 2,200 that was agreed upon by the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center.

“Choreographed to maximize comfort and flexibility, this space is meant to be a living room for New York City,” New York Philharmonic tweeted.

Renovations also include a spacious arena, a new lobby, refurbished halls and a café where attendees can socialize. Visual art stands, concessions, a 50- foot digital stage and bar will accompany the work done, NY1 reported.

According to a press release, Diamond Schmitt, along with Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, have a unique vision for the premier concert hall designed to “reimagine” the historical landmark located on the Upper West Side.

Tod William Billie Tsien Architects prove to be one of the world’s most talented design firms, winning awards like the AIA Architecture Firm Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Brunner Award and the Architectural League Presidents Medal, National Endowments for the Arts reported.

The revitalization of Geffen Hall signifies a promising future for cultural organizations in New York, especially after the omicron wave diminished several institutions’ plans to bounce back during last year’s holiday season.

“Lincoln Center is a central piece of New York’s cultural heart and the new David Geffen Hall, complete with expanded public and community spaces, will make that heart beat even stronger,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an announcement.

With the tourism industry suffering since the pandemic first started, the modernization of the Lincoln Center venue hopes to attract travelers worldwide and encourage them to visit the Big Apple.

“New Yorkers will drop by just to see what’s happening, knowing they will find welcoming public spaces offering dynamic free entertainment, food, fun, art and culture in addition to the superb performances of the New York Philharmonic,” chair of the board of directors at Lincoln Center Katherine Farley told Gothamist.