Famous Lincoln Center fountain to be replaced

The fountain at Lincoln Center, prominently featured in Ghostbusters, is being removed and replaced with a more ambitious, computer controlled fountain (a la the dancing fountains outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas.) Designed by architect Philip Johnson (who also designed the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center) and completed in 1964, the fountain has been a key landmark in many a New York film besides Ghostbusters, such as Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

The reconstruction designers have opted to retain the placement of the fountain, but to radically overhaul it at the same time.

“It’s the thing that upsets me most of all about what’s happened at Lincoln Center,” Mr. Dolkart [director of Columbia University’s historic preservation program] said. “They thought that they needed to spend a lot of money ripping out Philip Johnson’s fountain and putting in something new instead of restoring something that worked well.”

“A key issue in preservation is whether or not something is worth preserving,” he added, “not whether or not the new thing we replace it with might be wonderful also. You wouldn’t want to tear down Grand Central Terminal because Frank Gehry is going to design a masterpiece in its place.”

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