Home Audio Transcription Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Lincoln Center’s $550...

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Announces Lincoln Center’s $550 Million David Geffen Hall to Be Completed in October 2022


Governor Kathy Hochul today joined Lincoln Center leadership to announce that the $550 million renovation of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ new David Geffen Hall will be completed in October 2022, two years ahead of schedule. The hall is being reimagined from the inside out with expanded access to public space for the community, supported by a $6.5 million grant from Empire State Development. The project will transform the storied concert hall and home of the renowned New York Philharmonic into a world-class venue and destination that will further support New York City’s post-pandemic economic recovery. 

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

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AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:


Good morning, and thank you so much for this incredible opportunity to share this success story with all of you. First I do want to acknowledge Katherine and thank you for reminding us of the trauma that is going on across the world, as Putin and his forces continue to invade Ukraine.

I literally left a prayer service, an interfaith prayer service, in the last half hour and listened to the Ambassador to the United Nations and the Consul General. And so many people came together in support to show solidarity with freedom-loving people all over this world and how under assault they are and they need New York State behind them.

So let’s continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers. But more than that, I’ve already sent a strong message, as I spoke to the Ambassador to Poland this morning that we want to welcome the refugees with open arms, beginning as soon as possible. There are plenty of places and people just waiting for the opportunity to show real New York love to these people who’ve been under siege. So we hope that happens real soon.

This is an extraordinary day. When you think about, is there any silver lining from this pandemic, this pandemic that brought us to our knees, this city was the epicenter and it spread like wildfire throughout our state. And you think about what good could possibly have come out of this?

This, my friends. Extraordinary accomplishment two years early because of the visionaries who oversee the Philharmonic and the Lincoln Center. The people that we think about, we think about the gilded age of the city. Those of you who are watching it — and I actually watched some of the segments of The Gilded Age — I think about the people who believe so deeply in the potential of the city, even when we’re being knocked down, they still say we had to build our way back.

So, I want to thank some of the individuals who’ve been involved with this. And first, starting with our new Mayor, Eric Adams, for his incredible enthusiastic embrace of his role, but also how he’s out there celebrating the arts and culture and entertainment. I’m jealous when I see his schedule, because I thought I had one. I was like, where are you going tonight Mayor? It’s got to be someplace fun. So to have that synergy between the state and the city, which I don’t know has existed in the past.

I want to make sure that we continue to celebrate what makes us the most fascinating city in the world. So to Mayor Adams, we’ll be hearing from Senator Chuck Schumer, via remote, he has many responsibilities in Washington, much needed work he’s doing, but also our Borough President, Mark Levine, you said, “you’re in Manhattan again?” He says, “you’re in Manhattan more than most Manhattan elected officials!” Well, that’s probably a statement of truth, but I go where the great times and the wonderful announcements are so thank you as well. Gale Brewer, who we spent, I spent eight straight years with Gale Brewer, trying to keep up with her schedule as she’s extraordinary as well. And also Hope Knight is here from Empire State Development. Hope Knight, thanks for helping us get this over the finish line. 

I came back from a meeting that I had here with the board of directors in October and I believe that was the first time you had gathered in person right, over 18 months. And everybody’s so excited. This is October, Delta’s gone almost. There’s no Omicron on the horizon. We didn’t know it was coming our way, but we talked about the need to just have a little more support from the state. So I was very proud we could go back and deliver $6.5 million to just get us over the finish line and put that toward public space. And I’ll get to that in a second.

But, Mara Manus, Executive Director of the Council on the Arts, and of course, Peter May the co-chair of the Philharmonic, Henry Timms, President and CEO of the Lincoln Center, and Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the Philharmonic. We just talked about being the only women, the first woman to be head of the Philharmonic as well, and others who’ve been involved. 

And I also want to thank the men and women of labor, you are out there during a pandemic when it is a lot of people are zooming into life from their basement safely in their pajamas. And you showed up at work sites to make sure that you could continue to bring that income to your families, but also more than just how it helped yourself personally, it helped give us that sense of possibility. We can continue building even during a pandemic. So to all the men and women of labor who did this, 6,000 labor jobs, many supported by MWBE’s as well. I mean, to me, that is an incredible accomplishment.

And I also want to talk about what this institution did during the pandemic at a time when you could not perform for 18 months. You said, what else can we do to support this community? And you literally opened up, not the doors, but the land to concerts outside, 10 venues, and invited people from underserved communities, young people, who’d never been exposed to the arts like this.

I believe that you used this opportunity as a catalyst to trigger a passion and love for music and arts and culture in a way that no other institution could have envisioned. So to all of you who did this during the pandemic, I want to thank you for allowing people to still celebrate the best part of life, even while we are dealing with that incredible healthcare crisis.

And this new David Geffen Hall, the ingenious behind it, breaking down barriers, bringing people closer to the performers. I believe that the one major takeaway from this pandemic is that people miss that very human connection. That isolation, that sense of being alone, it was paralyzing for so many people and this venue is going to be so open and welcoming and bring people close together in countless ways.

And I want to thank everyone for being part of not just New York’s history here since 1962, leaving its home in Carnegie Hall for many decades, but also part of the future.

What you’re seeing right out this window is the future of New York. We’re going to continue to build, continue to create a legacy that people in the future will talk about for generations to come.

So I’m proud of the role that the state played in helping with the completion of a $550 million project. I thank all the benefactors and the patrons of this project. That is why this city is so great, we benefit from your incredible generosity. We don’t take it for granted. We’re happy you’re New Yorkers, and I want to thank everyone involved in this incredible announcement here today.

Thank you very much.

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