Gold: The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center Entry and Photograph by: Andrea N. Sforza

Until the orchestra plays, the lights dim, and the glittering starburst chandeliers retract, it’s hard to look at anything but the magnificent gold ceiling. The expansive concrete structure, completely clad in gold leaf, spreads out from the center in a petal-like form. Designed by Wallace Harrison of Harrison & Abramovitz Architects, the building was completed in 1966 and held its first public performance of Puccini’s “Faniculla del West” on April 11, 1966.

The grandeur of the opera house and the plaza stand in far contrast to the blighted tenements that once existed prior to Lincoln Center’s construction. In 1955, New York City’s Slum Clearance Committee, led by chairman Robert Moses, gave approval to designate Lincoln Square for urban renewal. New York, like many cities across the nation, made decisions to clear out large areas considered to be slums and build new, expansive, public structures. Four years and twelve full blocks of demolished buildings later, President Eisenhower attended the ceremony to break ground for the Lincoln Center.

Architect: Wallace K. Harrison, Harrison & Abramovitz Architects, 1966