Lincoln Center celebrates its 60th birthday

LINCOLN CENTER, Manhattan (WABC) -- A damp day did not dim their spirits -- the rain held off long enough so the show could go on!

Lincoln Center is a jewel in the middle of Manhattan, but talent came from all around the city for this 60th birthday party.

"We wanted everyone to know it's for all New Yorkers," said Jordana Leigh, who put together the program. "And so the programming really reflects the diversity of our city."

"It was important to capture that community in the musical artists so we have: Fogo Azul, which is an amazing female percussion ensemble group," said Musical Director Sunny Jain.

"It's an honor," leader Stacy Kovacs said. "We're very excited to be here. We're very honored to be here."

Lincoln Center began life as a "renewal project" in a run-down neighborhood. It's become a goal of artists like Robert Mack from Opera Noire to perform here.

"Lincoln Center started out of a need," he said. "That's how everything starts. When you see a void, then you go and fill that void."

It was the middle of May in 1959 when President Dwight Eisenhower came to break ground on what would become one of the world's most famous cultural institutions.

Lincoln Center's new President and CEO Henry Timms put history in perspective.

"Lincoln Center was founded at the height of The Cold War, and it was a statement about democracy," he said. "It was a statement of where we stood on our very best days. The way we reach out to people. The way we can bring people together."

Timms brought his 7-year-old son Josiah to what was billed as a neighborhood block party.

"As we look to the future, the 60 years ahead is what we're focused on," Timms said. "So how do we continue that spirit but reimagine that work for a new generation?"

In fact, the first 60 years just could be the start of this story!

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