Although extensive renovations of the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts aren't getting underway until July 20, the Lincoln Center venue holds its official launch party June 16, featuring opera diva Jessye Norman as a special guest. Eli Wallach & Anne Jackson will also be on hand for the afternoon event. According to NYPL's public relations office, circulating collections will remain open until Aug. 10, then move to the mid-Manhattan library branch (5th Ave. & 48th St.) for a reopening Aug. 24. The research collection closes at the Lincoln Center site July 20 but reopens Aug. 10 (at the Annex, 521 West 43rd St.).
In fall 2000 the whole library will reopen at Lincoln Center, with the venue to be renamed "The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center."
According to spokesperson Alex Wang, the two-year renovation will "reapportion the space, and there'll be an infrastructure for the latest information technologies, new wiring and networking for reference databases, as well as for personal computers." The projected cost is $30 million.
Asked about the reason for the renovation, executive director Robert Marx told Backstage, "The library building doesn't really adequately hold us at this point. Our annual attendance is 400,000. This building wasn't designed to hold that many people. We're bursting at the seams."
-- By David Lefkowitz