The Moorish Revival building that houses New York City Center was built in 1923 and was originally known as Mecca Temple. It originally housed the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (or as they are known today, the Shriners), which was famously ousted from its original meeting place in nearby Carnegie Hall due to an overabundance of cigar smoke during meetings. Shriners struggled to pay taxes on the building during the Great Depression, and the building was slated for demolition in the early 1940s. City officials Newbold Morris and Fiorello LaGuardia decided to turn the space into a public venue for the arts.
New York City Center (NYCC) was opened in 1943 with an inaugural performance featuring Major LaGuardia conducting the New York Philharmonic in a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. In the decades hence, NYCC has featured many of the world’s most prominent dance and theatre companies, bringing the best in dance and theatre to the greater New York City community.
New York City Center is dedicated to expanding audiences and appreciation for the finest in the performing arts, with a particular emphasis on dance and theatre. The Center hosts a number of prestigious organizations year-round, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and American Ballet Theatre. It is the long-standing home of the Manhattan Theatre Club, which presents its full season and ‘Spring Boards’ series on NYCC’s Stage I and Stage II theaters. NYCC also presents theEncores! Great American Musicals in Concert series and Fall for Dance Festival, both acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.
Also committed to its role as an educational resource to the city of New York, NYCC offers the Young People’s Dance Series, which brings professional artists into schools, allowing students to experience the creativity, discipline and joy that are part of a Mainstage theater production.
- Venues: Mainstage, Stage I, and Stage II, all housed at 130 West 56th Street
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by subway lines N, Q, and R at 57th Street/7th Avenue; the F at 57th Street; the B, D, and E at 7th Avenue/53rd Street; and buses M5, M7, M20, M31, M57, and M104)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Programming includes work by resident companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, Morphoses: The Wheeldon Company, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and the Manhattan Theatre Club. The popular Encores! musical concert series, Manhattan Theatre Club’s Off-Broadway productions, and many additional dance performances are held at City Center
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on program. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) $10 tickets to select City Center events are available to full-time undergrad and graduate students under 30 (students can sign up for free at the City Center website and receive email notifications about offers.) Show discounts are occasionally available throughGoldstar and Playbill
- Group Discounts: Discounts available for groups of 10 or more
- Membership: City Center membership starts at $65. Membership benefits include two passes per year to Encores! dress rehearsals, two passes per year to dance shows and other dress rehearsals, neighborhood discounts, and members-only presales
- Educational/Community Outreach: Educational programs include Young People’s Dance Series (professional development, residencies, seminars) and Encores! In Residence.