The Met - Lincoln Center Night Out (NYC)
If you are vacationing in New York City, you need to include Lincoln Center as a special "Night Out." Its home to some of the most iconic cultural institutions in the world including The Metropolitan Opera, The New York Philharmonic, The New York City Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre. (ABT). I love them all - but for today's post, I am going to highlight my photos from this weekends' ABT performance of Sleeping Beauty
Arrive Early & Explore
There's tons to see and do at Lincoln Center -- so arrive early (I mean it - don't just rush into the show). To start, you will want to soak in some of the excitement around the central fountain - - a spot that's featured in countless movies.
Off to to the right of The Met is a stunning reflection pool and lots of outdoor art to take in (Henry Moore & Alexander Calder included). The Tisch Illumination Lawn in front of the Julliard School is cool as well. It's a twisted, elevated piece of greenery that morfs into a roof.
The Met starts letting people in about 30 minutes before show time. Scan your tickets and make a B-Line to the Grand Tier Bar - which features numerous premium champagnes and wines. Just be ready for "airport-pricing" -- - it's totally worth it though. Make sure you look-up! Above the bar is one of two massive paintings by Chagall in The Met. Its huge - and made to impress.
Take your drink out onto the terrace to get a completely different view of Lincoln Center. Fair warning: the place is so glam that you might forget about going into the show!
The Metropolitan Opera House
Last Saturday was the closing night for the American Ballet Theatre - and the place was packed. The ABT performs at the Met in the summer. There are over 3,800 seats in this theatre - and it can be confusing on where to sit. I like the Dress Circle -- the views are great, no-one ever seems to be in your way, and the price is 'reasonable." I paid $75 for each ticket - -which gave me some extra cash for champagne!
ABT's Sleeping Beauty
If you ever have the chance to see ABT's Sleeping Beaty - -GO! The production is stunning and magical to say the least. The dancing is out-of-this-world and the costumes and sets are spectacular. I thought the stage was going to collapse at one point as 250 dancers must have been on it at the same time!
Many of the operas and ballets at Lincoln Center have two intermissions - and this is your opportunity to explore the place even more (with champagne glass in hand!). It's fun to pop down to the orchestra pit and look back at the house. As you walk between levels you can also admire some costumes from past productions and various pieces of donated art.
For me, people watching is one of the main attractions as well. This is your chance to see some of the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair come to life. Haute couture gowns mixed with kimonos and Vivian Westwood!
Another highlight of your night is going to be admiring the Hans Herald Rath Chandeliers - which were donated by the Vienna State Opera. These constellation like - iconic lighting units are fascinating. The ones in the performance hall ascend into the ceiling just before the curtain rises - and there is always an audible gasp from the audience when this happens. The ones in the lobby are huge - and a constant focus of cell phone happy patrons!
The Grand Stair Case
I have to point out one last architectural detail - that I love. It's the cantilevered terrazzo staircase in the center of the lobby. I has a total 60's-mod-organic feel to it. Make sure you view it from the side as it wraps around to the lower levels.
After the Show
There are countless places to stop in for a post-theatre cocktail or dinner. I like the Smith - -which is always popular (and crowded). It's right across from Lincoln Center. To put an extra emphasis on glam though I recommend MoBar (or the Lobby Bar) at the Mandarin Hotel. It takes about seven minutes to walk (south) to the Mandarin - and both bars are located on the 35th floor - overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park South. Bring your wallet and enjoy some great wine!