The windows of our Brown Harris Stevens office, located directly across the street from Lincoln Center, offer a front row seat to the Josie Robertson Plaza. The Plaza, which is surrounded by the Metropolitan Opera House, David Geffen Hall (formerly known as Avery Fisher Hall) and the David Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater), is often referred to as the gateway to Lincoln Center. In the center of it all is the crown jewel, the Revson Fountain, completed and dedicated on April 6, 1964.
Lincoln Center, constructed in the 1960’s, was part of the “Lincoln Square Renewal Project” during Robert Moses’ program of urban renewal. The construction of the original Revson Fountain, designed by Philip Johnson, was made possible by a gift from the Revson Foundation in honor of Revlon’s founder, Charles H. Revson. When first built, it was the most technologically advanced fountain in New York. Over the years, the fountain has been immortalized in the scenes of countless films and television productions, including: The Producers (1968), Godspell (1973), Manhattan (1979), Ghostbusters (1984), Moonstruck (1987), Sweet Home Alabama (2002) and Black Swan (2010).
In 2006, Diller Scofidio + Renfro took on the role of lead designers of a $1.3-billion Lincoln Center redevelopment project. The plan was to include improvements to the arts complex, the addition of two new restaurants, a roof garden, two groves, as well as work to several of the plaza’s entrances. The Charles H. Revson Foundation contributed to the project by awarding a $4 million multi-year grant in support of the redesign of the Fountain.
Completed in 2009, Diller Scofidio’s design replaced Johnson’s bulkier granite base with a thin Cambrian black granite ring that rests on slender steel supports, opening up the view across the Plaza in all directions. The water level of the fountain’s basin, lowered to match the pavement level, contributes to the illusion that spectators are standing on top of the water. WET Design (Water Entertainment Technologies), a Los Angeles based water features firm best known for designing some of the most famous modern fountains in the world including, the Dubai Fountain and the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was brought on to completely redo the fountain’s innards. WET, led by co-founder Mark Fuller, designed water features controlled by 353 nozzles encompassing 36 mIcroshooters, 149 smooth bore analog nozzles and 168 aerating analog nozzles, all working together to create a show of choreographed alternating, pulsing and continuously flowing streams of water that can shoot more than 40 feet high. The water shows are on a set schedule that vary from season to season. Visit: http://www.lincolncenter.org/visit for a current schedule.
For more information about the renovation and the fountain’s architect, read the article “Water Music” by John Seabrook in the January 11, 2010 issue of the New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/01/11/water-music-2