We begin with the grandaddy of all mid-century architecture in New York — Lincoln Center. It is one of the jewels of the city, yet it was quite controversial at the time because blocks of housing were destroyed to build the center.
In the mid-1950s the area was designated an urban renewal site under Robert Moses’s vast plan to remake the city. It took several years before the land was cleared and Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) opened in 1962. Two years later the New York State Theater (now David H. Koch Theater) opened, followed the next year by the Metropolitan Opera House.
If Moses had his way (and he usually got it), Lincoln Center would have been connected to Central Park. Moses had the idea to demolish all of the buildings on 63rd and 64th Streets and build a green space to meet up with the Park. It’s the kind of thing that we’re probably happy never happened, but if we had it now it would be a pretty cool thing.