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For New York City residents and tourists alike, one of the best things about New York is access to a rich artistic scene practically right out the front door – indeed, earlier this winter, New York’s robust cultural scene was a key factor in its being named “best city in the world” in a survey by Time Out. But the benefits go well beyond a day of fun and memories that will last forever: A 2019 report from the City Comptroller’s office found that New York City’s arts and cultural industry generated $110 billion, or 13% of the city’s total economic activity.
New York’s arts, entertainment, and cultural industries were hit especially hard by the pandemic-induced lockdown, and their importance was not overlooked in the city's reopening. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo declared, "We must bring arts and culture back to life" in his State of the State address before announcing a public-private partnership known as the New York Arts Revival. A short time later, as vaccinations became available, New Yorkers were required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter theaters, museums and exhibition halls. This move encouraged vaccination, ensured visitors’ safety, and made people more likely to return to beloved entertainments.

"New York City is the artistic and creative epicenter of the country and, in many respects, the world" - The Creative Economy report

Years later, New York’s cultural scene shows no sign of slowing down. According to a December 2023 report from New York City Tourism + Conventions, the 2022-2023 Broadway season came in less than 17% short of the record-breaking 2018-2019 season, the last complete one before the shutdown; an exceptionally busy Broadway season may very well put this year over the top. For those who aren’t interested in plays or musicals, comedy mainstay The Second City opened an outpost in Brooklyn in February 2024, and Time Out New York editor Shaye Weaver notes that multi-disciplinary cultural hubs like The Shed in Hudson Yards and the Perelman Performing Arts Center in Lower Manhattan “invite novel forms of new work.”

Moreover, according to the December 2023 report, employment in the arts and culture sector grew 7% year-over-year, partially because of the opening of new venues and exhibits. As the following institutions throughout the boroughs show, there are many more to come with exciting new programming.

Completed in late 2022
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St.-Nicholas-Shrine-01 Credit: Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava
The original St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in was a row house purchased by Greek immigrants in 1892 as a community home, opened as a church in 1916, and served as an important part of Lower Manhattan for several decades. The church was destroyed in the collapse of the World Trade Center, and would have a sad status as the only house of worship to be destroyed in the terrorist attack. More than 20 years later, a new church opened across from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The design by Santiago Calavatra, inspired by a wealth of Byzantine influences, gives the appearance of "a lamp on a lampstand" (Matthew 5:14). It continues to function as a parish of the Archdiocese, but is also a National Shrine with a meditation/bereavement room and community space welcoming all faiths. The church was illuminated in September 2021 to honor the lives lost twenty years ago, and was listed among Galerie's most anticipated openings of 2022.
Credit: Alan Karchmer for Santiago Calatrava

Completed in 2023
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The-Perelman-01 Rendering of The Perelman via REX
A performing arts center was long planned as part of the master plan for redeveloping the World Trade Center site, and philanthropist Ronald Perelman jump-started construction with a $75 million gift in June 2016. The pandemic slowed things down, but the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC) opened in September 2023, and the inaugural season was recently announced.

The new building's facade is wrapped in translucent marble from the same Vermont quarry as the United States Supreme Court and the Jefferson Memorial, and appears bright white by day and glowing from within by night. The first floor, also known as the Public Level, hosts public convening spaces, a lobby stage, and a cafe/bar. The second floor is called the Performance Level and houses such functional space as dressing rooms, a green room, costume and wig storage, and a music room. The Play Level on the third floor has three flexible performance spaces, an artist rehearsal space, and a patron bar.
Photo credit: Iwan Baan

Museum of Islamic Art

Completion date TBD

45-Park-Place-01 Rendering via SOMA Architects
In 2019, a set of renderings was revealed for the Museum of Islamic Art, which is taking shape next door to the luxury condominium at 45 Park Place. These show a tree-lined entrance with reflecting pools and light-flooded exhibition and prayer spaces, and Jean Nouvel was reportedly attached to the project. The museum was originally conceived as a community center, but it would be an ideal venue for club meetings and other events. It remains to be seen how long it will take, though -- the site remains undeveloped, and in December 2023, developer Sharif El-Gamal was hit with a foreclosure suit.

Opened February 2024
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Mercer Labs museum 21 Dey Street (Mercer Labs)
Down the street from the banking hall turned Hall des Lumieres (see below), the former home of department store Century 21 (which has reopened next door) has been transformed into Mercer Labs, Museum of Art and Technology, an immersive museum created by artist Roy Nachum and developer Michael Cayre. The 15 rooms seek to redefine the relationship between art and technology with the help of immersive installations, unique listening encounters (including a 4D sound studio where guests are asked to wear a blindfold and lie on the floor), interactive games, and a museum-specific scent. It officially opened to the public on February 14, 2024.

Opened September 2022
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After the Atelier des Lumieres took Paris by storm with a digital art museum in a former foundry, founder CultureSpace set its sights on 49-51 Chambers Street, a Beaux-Arts building that was originally the Emigrant Savings Bank, for its New York outpost to be called Hall des Lumieres. The museum leased space on the first level and one level below so as to make the most of the 40' ceilings and ornate detailing as a backdrop for what it calls "video powered canvases." The premier exhibit was Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion.

The extensive audiovisual equipment is tucked out of sight, and the interiors have been modified to add a ticketing area, restrooms, coat check, and gift shop outside the designated landmarked space. Additionally, the designers installed a large curtain that can be closed during the shows and later opened to reveal the grandeur of the space. Landmarks unanimously approved the project in July 2020, and commission chair Sarah Carroll said, "The idea of allowing the public back into this space to experience this designated interior is seen as positive adaptive reuse."
Hall of Lumineres

Completed in 2019
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International-Center-of-Photography-01 Rendering of the International Center of Photography via Moso Studio
The International Center of Photography is the world's leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture, and home to everything from early daguerreotypes to multimedia installations. The museum and school reunited in Essex Crossing, where residents of 242 Broome Street receive a complimentary membership to the museum. The museum had only been open in its new home for six weeks when it was forced to close due to the pandemic, but cultivated a vibrant online community that allowed people to see galleries, take classes, watch lectures and events, and even submit their own photography. Now it is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a special exhibit.

Completion estimated for 2025
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MOCA museum New building rendering (Museum of Chinese in America/ © 2022 Maya Lin Studio with Bialosky New York)
In spring 2022, more than two years after a devastating fire at its research offices and archives, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) unveiled renderings of a new building by acclaimed architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Maya Lin. The building's design was inspired by vertical Chinese landscape paintings and traditional tangram puzzles, and perforated panels will allow light to strategically enter the spaces.

The museum's permanent collection will be housed on the third through fourth floors, and the new building will feature a center for research and genealogy, a theater, classrooms, a cooking demonstration kitchen, a canteen, and outdoor gathering spaces. It is taking shape with the help of grants from the Ford Foundation and MacKenzie Scott.
MOCA museum Chinatown
MOCA collection

Opening spring 2024
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155-Mulberry-Street-01 Photo via Morris Adjmi Architects
On the corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets, the luxury condos at The Grand Mulberry, a seven-story building with large windows, a red brick facade, and a context-sensitive design by Morris Adjmi Architects, are going fast. The Italian-American Museum sold its site to the condo's developers for $14.8 million at the beginning of 2017; as part of the deal, it will move into a larger space in the new building rent-free in perpetuity. The museum will have a separate Mulberry Street entrance that leads to a central atrium with a 20' ceiling. The four levels will include permanent and temporary exhibitions (including artifacts from Banca Stabile, a former tenant on the site), a 50-seat auditorium, and a gift shop.

Completion TBA
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156-Rivington-Street-01 The building's exterior will feature solar panels and a planted screen (ABC No Rio via Paul A. Castrucci Architect)
Ever since the 1980s, ABC No Rio has been known as a Lower East Side community of artists and activists. Its existing space is in serious disrepair, and the new building promises to double the size of its gallery and performance spaces. It is also set to become one of New York's first commercial buildings constructed to Passive House standards, and its design by Paul A. Castrucci Architect will feature a high-performance building envelope, high-performance windows, a heat-recovery ventilation system, a grey-water recycling system, energy efficient lighting, a solar photovoltaic system, a planting screen, and a green roof. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2024.
156-Rivington-Street Gallery rendering (Paul A. Castrucci Architect)
ABC No Rio

Completion TBA
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32-Second-Avenue-01 Rendering of Anthology Film Archives expansion via Bone/Levine Architects
In 1988, Anthology Film Archives opened in the former Third District Magistrates Courthouse as the first museum dedicated to film as an art form. Since then, it has served as a video preservation center, a reference library related to avant-garde cinema, and screening center for films outside the commercial mainstream. It is now in the middle of upgrades that will bring upgraded infrastructure, a new library, new film vaults, a new cafe, and a rooftop terrace to the building. The expansion is underway with the blessing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Completion estimated for 2025
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OMA/Bloomimages
Shortly after demolition permits were filed for a six-story building at 231 Bowery, the neighboring New Museum revealed renderings of its replacement, to be designed by Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu of OMA and to double the exhibition space at the museum's SANAA-designed flagship building. The more transparent new building will add more than 10,000 square feet of gallery space, connect with existing galleries, and connect the lobbies of the two buildings in one large space with an expanded bookstore and 80-seat restaurant. The museum is set to temporarily close on March 5, 2024 to continue the expansion.

Completed in 2023
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Photo: Connie Zhou/JBSA
Centuries before New York University announced plans for a state-of-the-art new building at 181 Mercer Street with student and faculty housing, sports and recreational facilities, and performance spaces, it was the site of the African Grove Theatre, a 300-seat space that was the first Black theatre in the country. More than 100 years later, the new, LEED Gold-certified building includes a new theatre named the African Grove Theatre and used to host ongoing NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting and Design for Stage and Film programs. theatrical performance, historical displays, and educational programming. The building also features a scale model of the original African Grove Theatre.
181-Mercer-Street Rendering of 181 Mercer Street (New York University)

Opened spring 2021
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Little-Island-01 Credit: Michael Grimm Photography
Credit: Michael Grimm Photography
In 2014, eyebrows were raised when the Hudson River Park Trust and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation announced plans for a floating public park in the Hudson River off Pier 55. But after its first summer of operations, what was thought to be a far-fetched idea proved to be an appealing destination for locals and tourists alike. Little Island's varying elevations allow for different perspectives from designated overlook areas, and house a stage and 700-seat amphitheater. Tap dancer/choreographer Ayodele Casel, playwright/director Tina Landau, actor/musical director Michael McElroy, and PigPen Theater Co. were named Little Island's first artists-in-residence, and Proenza Schouler held their New York Fashion Week show there. The 2024 event calendar is on the horizon.

Completed in 2023
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In April 2022, a new rooftop park opened to the public at Pier 57, located on the Hudson River waterfront just up the road from Little Island (see above). The 80,000-square-foot park is home to new green space and seating areas, and served as an outdoor screening location for the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023.

At the time, Pier 57 was already home to a City Winery flagship wine bar/performance space (relocated from Hudson Square) and 350,000 square feet of office space for Google. It later welcomed a new “Living Room” with views of Little Island and Lower Manhattan, the Discovery Tank gallery and classroom, and Market 57, a food hall curated by the James Beard Foundation.
Pier 57 Hudson River Park Credit: Brett Beyer/Google.
Pier-57-01 "The Living Room" at Pier 57 Photo credit: Colin Miller

Completed in 2019
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Pace Gallery West Chelsea Pace Gallery
In spring 2017, construction began on a new Chelsea flagship for the Pace Gallery on West 25th Street that would more than double its previous footprint. The design by Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture features a stone facade quarried from Mt. Etna, a contextually sensitive street-level presence, and a contoured white penthouse on top of the black massing.

In a 2018 interview with CityRealty, Pace Gallery Headquarters project director Matteo Fraticelli said, “We wanted to create the possibility of not only showing art on different floors, but also outdoors and indoors.” To that end, the expanded gallery features a 10,000-volume research library on the first floor, five floors of indoor galleries, and a sixth-story terrace gallery that can accommodate performances, live events, sculptural exhibitions, and even small food trucks. The interiors will column-free galleries and a lighting concept by Isometrix Lighting Design that automatically adjusts ambient light to complement specific works.
Pace-Gallery-01 Image via Pace Gallery

Completed in 2021
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Chelsea-Factory-01 Rendering via Chelsea Factory
The transformation of industrial space into art galleries was instrumental in putting Chelsea on the map, and 547 West 26th Street is one such entry. The property previously hosted New York’s first taxi fleets, but would go on to house Annie Leibovitz’s photography studio in the 1990s and a contemporary dance company in the 2000s. Its latest incarnation is as Chelsea Factory, a new space for artists and stories set to usher in a more sustainable and diverse future of the arts.

A 2021 Landmarks presentation called for two distinctive exhibition halls, new restrooms, and a non-commercial kitchen. Landmarks approved the project with slight modifications in July 2021, finding that the building’s style, scale, materials, and details were consistent with the architectural and historic character of the West Chelsea Historic District. Since its opening, it has welcomed the Juilliard School's Juilliard Jazz Program, and the Joyce Theater, to name but a few.

Completed in 2024
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Korean Cultural Center Korean Cultural Center (CityRealty)
A few blocks east of Korea Way, the new home of the Korean Culture Center is gearing up for its inaugural season. The design by the Seoul-based Samoo Architects and Engineers is the winner of a 2010 competition, and features a transparent facade with illuminated sculptural figures. The project is striving for LEED certification and features a 200-seat theater below-grade, an exhibition space on the second floor, an arts and crafts center on the fourth floor, and classrooms on the fifth floor.

Completed in 2019
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The-Shed-01 The Shed via Brett Beyer
Situated where the High Line meets Hudson Yards, The Shed is designed to welcome established and emerging visual, musical, and performance artists. The Diller Scofidio + Renfo-designed building features two large gallery spaces, a theater, a rehearsal space, a skylit event space, an artists lab, and an adjoining plaza. The architecture was hailed as "adaptable" for its ability to move its outer shell over the plaza to create a large-scale performance space, but that word applies just as easily to the institution it houses: The "Up Close" series was developed to connect people to art from the safety of their homes during the pandemic. More recently, Stephen Sondheim's final musical, Here We Are, premiered at The Shed's Griffin Theater, and a robust program lies ahead.

Completion estimated for 2025
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The evolution of a once great building
One Times Square is known all over the world as the site of the New Year’s Eve ball drop, and owner Jamestown announced a $500 million revamp of the 118-year-old tower that, in the words of Times Square Alliance president Tom Harris, “will bring New Year’s Eve to Times Square 365 days a year” at the end of 2022.
One Times Square was originally built as headquarters for The New York Times, and has largely been inaccessible to the public since then. The redevelopment seeks to change that with an indoor, 12-story visitors center. Six stories will be dedicated to a museum of the building’s history, and companies will be able to buy space on the other six stories dedicated to immersive experiences (think the wildly popular, interactive Van Gogh exhibit). It will also include an outdoor viewing deck overlooking Times Square.
One Times Square revamp One Times Square
One-Times-Square One Times Square renderings (Jamestown)
One Times Square plaza Aerial view of the public plaza
While the ball drop has still taken place since the announcement and the world-famous LED signs (some of the world’s most valuable advertising space) remained in place during construction, billboards near the bottom of the building were removed to make way for a new facade and new windows. The project also includes a new subway entrance, which recently opened, and a new public plaza on the tower’s east side. The project topped out in December 2023 (a few weeks before the New Year's Eve ball drop), the facade is on the way up, and interior work remains underway.

Completed in 2022
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Museum-of-Broadway-01 Rendering via Museum of Broadway
Musicals and plays were not the only Broadway productions deferred by the pandemic: The Museum of Broadway was originally expected to open in 2020, but got pushed to fall 2022. Partners Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Playbill, the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Concord Theatricals, and Goodspeed Musicals approached it with the goal of making it the ultimate theater-lover’s destination.

The Museum of Broadway is the first museum ever dedicated to Broadway’s history. A map room traces the migration of the city’s theaters uptown from the Financial District to Union Square, then Herald Square, and finally Times Square. A timeline detailing the earliest Broadway shows to present-day productions features memorabilia obtained with the help of the Billy Rose Theater Division of the New York Public Library for Performing Arts; additionally, installations created by visual artists and Broadway designers take place alongside this section. Finally, a “stage door” opens into an area that details the making of a Broadway show both onstage and off. Additional components include a fully equipped rehearsal studio and a gift shop open to the public. It has opened next to the Lyceum Theater, Broadway’s oldest continually operating theater.

Completed in fall 2022

Cort Theatre Image via Kostow Greenwood Architects
Between its long history of operations dating back to 1912, design inspired by Versailles’ Petit Trianon, and veritable galaxy of stars that have performed there, it is little wonder that the Cort Theater was declared a New York City Landmark in 1987. A restoration and expansion is poised to take it into the 21st century, and it has been renamed in honor of celebrated actor James Earl Jones. Mr. Jones' Broadway breakthrough came at the Cort Theater in a 1958 production of Sunrise at Campobello; since then, he has won Tony Awards for his roles in The Great White Hope and Fences as well as the Tony's Lifetime Achievement Award.

With the help of Francesca Russo, theatre owner Shubert Organization’s go-to preservation architect for the past 25 years, the Landmarked building had its facade and original proscenium arch restored, its accessibility improved, its stage modernized, and its seating made more comfortable. Immediately west of the theater, the Shubert Organization tapped Kostow Greenwood Architects to design a modern, 20,000-square-foot annex set to streamline the flow of the space. This includes an elevator, new concession areas, more bathrooms, new dressing and wardrobe rooms, and more rehearsal space.

Landmarks approved the alterations and expansion in 2017, but construction did not move forward until spring 2021. Its first show was a production of Ohio State Murders, starring Audra McDonald and marking the Broadway debut of playwright Adrienne Kennedy, and it will welcome The Heart of Rock and Roll, a musical inspired by the songs of Huey Lewis and the News, later this spring.

TSX Broadway

Completed in 2023
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In summer 2023, TSX Broadway revealed its indoor/outdoor performance stage overlooking Times Square with a surprise concert by Post Malone. Two LED doors opened to reveal the stage above Father Duffey Square, and the show was broadcast on the 18,000-square-foot billboard surrounding the stage. A similar surprise performance by K-pop star and BTS member Jungkook took place a few months later.
The stage and billboards are the most visible components of TSX, which is distinguished in the local skyline by its curved corner, stripes of LED lights between floor-to-ceiling windows on upper levels, and LED crown. Hilton's first Tempo hotel opened in the building in summer 2023, and the building will also feature base-level retail and Times Square's largest outdoor food and beverage terrace. Another key component is the raised and refurbished Palace Theater (see below).
TSX Broadway
TSX TSX's screen stage

The Palace Theater rising and renovation

Completion TBD
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The Palace Theater nestled inside the tower
From its earliest days as a vaudeville theater, “playing the Palace” meant reaching the pinnacle of one’s entertainment career. The venue and phrase made a comeback in the 1950s, when Judy Garland held her shows there, and the Nederlander Organization purchased the theater in 1964. Since then, its Broadway productions have included Sweet Charity, La Cage aux Folles, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, Legally Blonde, and An American in Paris.
Its most recent act is perhaps its most impressive: As part of new hotel and retail tower TSX Broadway, the historic theater was raised 30 feet above street level to make way for 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space underneath. A ring beam was placed around the theater, and 34 hydraulic jacks lifted the ring beam at a speed of about a quarter inch per hour. The process took about seven weeks and was completed in spring 2022. The theater's new marquee is up, and an interior renovation includes expanding the dressing room and backstage areas.

Upon completion, theatergoers will arrive through a grand entrance and take an express escalator to the third floor. They will arrive in a spacious lobby with a new bar, box office, and merchandise area. The theater will include 1,657 modern seats and double the number of restrooms it previously had. But for all the changes, the landmarked interiors will be refurbished and the grand chandelier will be restored to its original location.
The Palace Theater before being encased within a skyscraper
TSX The Palace Theater lift, January 2022

Completion estimated for 2024
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30-Rockefeller-Plaza-03
It took a few tries, but Landmarks unanimously approved a series of enhancements to 30 Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock at the end of April 2022. The observatory is already a must-see for tourists all over the world, but Commissioner Sarah Carroll said, “I think allowing for new circulation and these activities on the roof will even help support the recovery of the city.”
The unofficial centerpiece is "The Beam," a new rooftop ride on the 69th floor inspired by the iconic "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper" photograph: Visitors are seated on a beam, strapped in, lifted 12 feet above the platform, and rotated 180 degrees to face Central Park. The experience comes with a digital photo (but not, as The Architect’s Newspaper quipped, a brown bag lunch). It opened in December 2023.
30-Rockefeller-Plaza-01 Images via Tishman Speyer
One floor up, Top of the Rock will welcome "Sky Lift," a circular glass platform that will bring visitors above the rooftop for 360-degree views, and a kinetic globe to act as a rooftop beacon and be programmed to change with the arrival of guests. Additional plans for Top of the Rock include upgrading the lobby, moving the ticketed entrance to an existing storefront, and replacing the red rooftop tiles with mosaic tilework in a celestial design, a motif seen throughout Rockefeller Center.

Completed in 2021
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Irish-Arts-Center-01 Rendering via Davis Brody Bond
Since its opening in 1972, Irish Arts Center has bloomed into a mainstay of Irish theater, dance, and music. It has also outgrown the tenement it has operated out of from the start, and arranged to combine the original theater with a new building that has risen on the former site of an auto repair shop at 726 Eleventh Avenue. The new design incorporates the original brick facade and offers a contemporary new theater, a lobby and cafe, a studio classroom, and four dressing rooms.

Completed in October 2022
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Lincoln Center David Geffen Hall David Geffen Hall (Lincoln Center)
When the renovation of David Geffen Hall was announced in December 2019, Lincoln Center said that construction would start in 2022, take place around the New York Philharmonic’s seasons so as to avoid disruptions, and be completed in 2024. However, with concerts curtailed and buildings shuttered due to the pandemic, construction was able to start sooner and proceed at such a pace that it was able to reopen in October 2022, or two years ahead of schedule.
The Philharmonic’s concert hall has long been reviled for its acoustic problems, but a master acoustician was part of the renovation effort; the walls are being resurfaced to improve resonance. Additionally, in response to health and safety concerns raised by the pandemic, the project features upgraded HVAC and air filtration systems. It also features the state-of-the-art Wu Tsai Theater, an airy welcome center, the Karen and Richard LeFrak Lobby with comfortable seating and a digital wall, the Kenneth C. Griffin Sidewalk Studio for small-scale performances, and the Leon and Norma Hess Grand Promenade with access to the Leni and Peter May Terrace.
David Geffen Hall

Completion estimated for 2026
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New-York-Historical-Society-01 All renderings via Robert A.M. Stern Architects for Landmarks Preservation Commission
The New York Historical Society has sought to expand since 1983, but its status as a “triple landmark” (an individual landmark located in the Central Park West-76th Street Historic District and the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District) meant this could not proceed without Landmarks' approval. But in summer 2021, a proposal warmly greeted by city officials and local preservationists alike received unanimous Landmarks approval, clearing the way for the expansion to move forward.

The new, 80,000-square-foot wing is set to rise on a parcel of land purchased by the New York Historical Society in the 1930s for the express purpose of building an annex. A presentation by Robert A.M. Stern Architects notes that the quarry that provided stone for the original design is still open and would provide materials for the expansion. Construction began in November 2023, and the anticipated 2026 completion date is timed to the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the United States.

Upon completion, the new wing will serve as the home for the historical society's Tang Academy for American Democracy and Dorothy Tapper Goldman Center for Teaching Democracy, allowing the number of students in the Tang Academy to increase tenfold. The top floor will house the first-ever American LGBTQ+ Museum. Additional features are set to include the Stuart and Jane Weitzman Shoe Museum, a permanent exhibition of women's shoes leading to the new wing; new exhibition hall the Kllingenstein Family Gallery; a state-of-the-art storage tower for the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library; a new conservation studio for painting and paper; a courtyard garden terrace; and a rooftop garden terrace.

Completed in 2023
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American-Museum-of-Natural-History-01 Rendering via Studio Gang
When the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation ("the Gilder Center") opened at the American Museum of Natural History, it fulfilled the museum's longtime dream of creating a continuous campus across four city blocks. The design by McArthur fellow Jeanne Gang was inspired by caves and caverns formed by natural forces, and incorporates a construction technique known as "shotcrete."

The Gilder Center is anchored by the four-story Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium, which has multiple openings and bridges to connect visitors physically and visually. The Allison and Roberto Mignone Hall of Gems and Minerals reopened ahead of the rest of The Gilder Center, which is also home to the three-story Louis V. Gertsner Jr. Collections Core, Susan and Peter J. Soloman Family Insectarium, the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium, David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Research Library and Learning Center, immersive art experience Invisible Worlds, and 18 classrooms for students of all ages. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in June 2019, and it opened to the public in spring 2023.

Completion TBD
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Children's-Museum-01 Rendering via FXCollaborative
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is such a popular destination for families all over New York that it is on the verge of outgrowing its Upper West Side space. To that end, the museum purchased a church at 361 Central Park West and worked closely with FXCollaborative to create a state-of-the-art museum with a historic exterior. The project won unanimous Landmarks approval in June 2020.

Completion estimated for 2023
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Frick-Collection-01 Rendering via Beyer Blinder Belle for Landmarks Preservation Commission
When New York’s museums reopened after pandemic-induced closures, the Frick Collection was noticeably absent. This is because the 1914 French Louis XVI-style mansion housing the works of art is undergoing a renovation and expansion with Landmarks’ blessing to accommodate an art collection that has more than doubled since the museum opened its doors in 1935. The art spent years in a temporary home known as the Frick Madison, in the former space of the Whitney Museum designed by Marcel Breuer. The museum’s director said this would allow for a new perspective on the art as the expansion begins in earnest, and The New York Times described it as "an unexpectedly audacious transmutation of the city's plushest museum."

More recently, the Frick Madison is set to close on March 3, at which time the building will be turned over to new owner Sotheby's and the art will be moved back to its original home. When it reopens later this spring, visitors will be able to access the second floor for the first time, where they will also enjoy a small restaurant. Locals were caught off-guard by the Frick's apparent application for 17 bars, but Artnet clarifies that these relate only to special events and have been reduced to 14 locations that were used prior to the renovation.

Completion estimated for 2029
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Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art-01 Rendering by wHY, courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is among the world’s largest and most famous museums, and the Fifth Avenue building housing the treasures is a work of art in and of itself, not to mention a New York City Landmark. As of this writing, the museum is in the middle of a major overhaul of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, which contains 40,000 square feet of galleries dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and the ancient Americas. The installation of a new curtain wall to restore views of Central Park is underway, and the galleries will be reconstructed and reorganized. Completion is estimated for 2025.

From there, it will embark on the expansion of the Oscar L. Tang and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang Wing, which houses modern and contemporary art. The museum has sought to renovate its modern and contemporary galleries for quite some time, and enlisted Frida Escobedo, designer of Ray Harlem (see below), in March 2022, replacing Pritzker Prize laureate David Chipperfield.

Completed in 2023
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1002-Madison-Avenue-01 Rendering (White Cube)
Down the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, British gallery White Cube opened its first New York outpost at 1002 Madison Avenue in the Upper East Side Historic District. The new space is set across three stories in the circa-1930 bank building, and features public gallery spaces and private viewing areas alike. Landmarks approved the alterations to the entrance and windows in June 2022, and the fall 2023 opening coincided with the 30th anniversary of White Cube, which has brought artists like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Theaster Gates, and Julie Curtiss to prominence.

Completion TBD
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1014 Fifth Avenue Renderings via 1014
Across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an early 20th-century Beaux Arts townhouse has served as the center of German culture for decades. It served as the home of the American ambassador to Germany from 1926 to 1951, and was purchased by the German government in 1961. Indeed, 1014 Fifth Avenue is still owned and run by the German government and its New York consulate. The building was the home of Goethe House New York for almost 50 years until its departure in 2009. Since then, 1014 - space for ideas (“1014”; nee German Academy New York Inc.) has been putting on cultural programming in the space.

David Chipperfield Architects won an international competition for the opportunity to design the renovation and restoration of the townhouse. The project is entitled “An Open House” to signify the opening, sharing, and connecting at the core of the building’s mission. It will be organized in public and private areas that overlap in a double-height common room at the center. Additional features will include an exhibition space, a fernery, a garden, and a rooftop terrace.

David Chipperfield Architects will work with KARO Architects and Patarus Group on “An Open House.” While work was underway, the exhibition “1014 Past and Future” presented the top four architectural plans to the public. A series of lectures, and related Upper East Side walking tours also took place as part of Archtober and Open House New York in fall 2021.

Completion TBD
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92nd-Street-Y Rendering of the updated Buttenweiser Hall (Beyer Blinder Belle)
92nd Street Y Rendering of the renovated May Center lobby (Beyer Blinder Belle)
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, New York’s cultural institutions were forced to close their doors. However, that is not to say that programming ceased at Upper East Side mainstay 92nd Street Y: They quickly pivoted to digital performances, readings, interviews, and lectures. In doing so, they were able to attract a global audience well beyond New York.

The experience prompted the 92nd Street Y to rebrand itself as 92NY (full name: 92nd Street Y, New York) with the tagline “Where New York meets the world” (h/t/ Gothamist). This involves a $200 million, top-to-bottom renovation of the Upper East Side campus, to be done in stages so as to keep the doors open. The groundbreaking for the first phase took place in July 2022, and this included a full renovation of performance space Buttenweiser Hall, a new, state-of-the-art dance center, and upgraded facilities in the May Center gym. Details on the second phase are not available.

Afro Latin Music & Arts Center

Completion TBD
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Timbale-Terrace-01 Timbale Terrace rendering via Lantern Organization, Mega Development, Urban Architectural Initiatives, HPD
In August 2021, the New York City Department of Housing and Development announced some of the first major new developments under the East Harlem rezoning approved in 2017. Among them was Timbale Terrace, a new mixed-use development set to rise on a former NYPD 25th Precinct parking site. It will feature 330 affordable housing units (99 of which will be set aside for formerly homeless residents) and a 16,000-square-foot Afro Latin Music & Arts (ALMA) Center.

The ALMA Center will be developed by the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance in partnership with Lantern House and Mega Development. This will be East Harlem’s first performing arts center dedicated to Afro Latin music and arts, and its offerings will include community programs and event space, music and technical program training, after-school programs, free arts education classes, live performances, a recording studio, an archival library, and a cafe.

Moreover, the ALMA Center will allow the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance to expand its programming, consolidate its operations and performances, and reach a wider audience. It has expressed interest in working with other local arts and cultural organizations, including Art for Change, the Association of Hispanic Arts, El Museo del Barrio, La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriquena, Speaking in Rhythms, and Taller Boricua PR Workshop. The City Planning Commission approved the Timbale Terrace development in January 2024, and it is now under review by the City Council.

Completion estimated for spring 2024
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Rendering credit: Luxigon, National Black Theater
In October 2023, construction topped out on Ray Harlem, a new Harlem building that will include a new, permanent, state-of-the-art home for the National Black Theater, which is the oldest Black theater owned and operated by a Black woman. The multi-floor space is set to include a 250-seat flexible temple space, a 99-seat studio theater, classrooms, and offices. Moreover, developer Ray is working with the National Black Theater on an Artist Housing Initiative that will create better access to housing for local artists and creatives; this program will be central to the 222 mixed-income apartments on top of the theater.
2033-Fifth-Avenue National Black Theater rendering Rendering credit: Luxigon, National Black Theater

Opening estimated for 2026
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121-West-125th-Street-01 Rendering of the Urban League Empowerment Center, future home of the museum, via Beyer Blinder Belle
In July 2019, Empire State Development announced a new 17-story, 412,105-square-foot development for the heart of Harlem named the Urban League Empowerment Center. In addition to bringing 170 affordable housing units, below-market office space for local non-profits and community groups, and retail (including Harlem's first Trader Joe's) to the neighborhood, the project will be the home of the 20,000-square-foot Urban Civil Rights Museum, the first of its kind in the northern United States. Museum director Jennifer Scott has said that it will go well beyond the traditional civil rights eras of the 1950s and 1960s, all the way back to the early African American presence in the North and bringing it up to the present day. Construction topped out in February 2022.

Completion estimated for spring 2025
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Apollo Theater update Lobby sketch (Apollo Theater)
On the same day the Apollo Theater announced that longtime President and CEO Jonelle Procope would step down in June 2023, they also announced that their world-famous performance venue would undergo a transformative renovation helmed by Beyer Blinder Belle and done in collaboration with theater, acoustics, and digital consultants Charcoalblue and Flyleaf Creative. The renovation is set to include improvements to the building’s exterior, the restoration of a built-in orchestra pit, expanding the lobby to include a new cafe and bar, upgrading to more efficient HVAC systems, updating the lighting and sound systems, adding and upgrading theater seating.

If everything goes according to plan, work is expected to commence in spring 2024 with the first programming taking place a year later. While renovations are underway, programming will take place on the Soundstage and at the Victoria Theater (see below).

Completed in 2024
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Victoria Tower
The Victoria Theater has been a vital part of Harlem since 1917, when it was built as a vaudeville theater. Over 100 years and a massive renovation later, the theater's original lobby serves as the entrance to a Renaissance hotel built behind and atop the historic building, and the property still boasts a rich cultural component: Not only will the hotel's restaurant host nightly jazz performances, but the third and fourth floor of the building features two black box theaters operated by the nearby Apollo (see above). To top it all off is Victoria Tower Residences, a collection of 191 studio through two-bedroom rentals.

Completion estimated for 2024
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Studio-Museum-01 Rendering via Adjaye Associates
The Studio Museum of Harlem is devoted to the work of artists of African descent, and would quickly outgrow its first two homes. The previous structure was demolished in February 2020, and interior and exterior work on a new design by Sir David Adjaye is underway. The new space will make space for the museum to expand its exhibitions while simultaneously displaying items in the permanent collection as well as offer nearly seventy percent more space for educational programs and public events. Additional features include three studios for artists-in-residence, a cafe, a glass-fronted lobby, and a free roof area.

Abolitionist Place

Completion estimated for 2024

Willoughby-Square-Park-01 Rendering of Willoughby Square Park via Hargreaves Jones/NYCEDC
In the heart of Downtown Brooklyn's building boom, Willoughby Square Park has been renamed Abolitionist Place in commemoration of the 19th-century abolitionist movement's ties to Brooklyn, which included stops on the Underground Railroad. The 1.15-acre green space by Hargreaves Jones is set to include lawn space, a children's play area, a dog run, a water play feature, and a text-based art installation and free-standing sculpture by artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed. The site opened as a temporary pop-up park in 2019, and the permanent park is set to open this year.

L10 Arts and Cultural Center
300-Ashland-Place-03 The new arts and cultural center will be inside the base of the mixed-use rental 300 Ashland Place (Alan Karchmer/Ten Arquitectos)
300 Ashland Place is a stone's throw from Barclays Center, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and Mark Morris Dance Group. However, the L10 Arts and Cultural Center brings a 50,000-square-foot cultural center right under its roof. Plans have been in the works since Two Trees Management bought the onetime parking lot in 2013, and it will include new gallery and performance spaces for MoCADA, three cinemas for BAM, rehearsal studios and performance space for 651 ARTS, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
300-Ashland-Place-01 Renderings of L10 Arts and Cultural Center (TEN Arquitectos and Andrea Steele Architecture)
300-Ashland-Place-02

Completion estimated for spring 2024
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Brooklyn Paramount Theater marquee Brooklyn Paramount Theater rendering (Brooklyn Paramount)
In March 2024, Fort Greene's historic Paramount Theater is set to reopen as a music venue following an extensive renovation. Not only did this restore the original Baroque features and Wurlitzer organ to their original glory, but it brings a new stage, a state-of-the-art backstage facility, seven bars throughout, and a second-level balcony with exclusive members' boxes and a VIP lounge.

The renovation is the latest chapter in the Paramount Theater's nearly 100-year history and brings it almost full circle: It was built as a movie theater and music venue in 1928, and taken over by Long Island University in 1962. The university turned the building into a gym and removed the stage, but retained the latticework ceiling.
Brooklyn Paramount Theater interiors

Completed in 2022
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Powerhouse-Arts-01 Rendering via PBDW Architects
In Gowanus, a 117-year-old coal-burning power plant has been designated a New York City Landmark and transformed into a new contemporary arts center. Graffiti artists dubbed it “the Batcave” and used it as a canvas after the power plant shut down in the 1950s, and the graffiti will be preserved in the new space. It will also show art from five media - metal, wood, print, ceramic, and textiles. Pritzker Prize laureates Herzog & de Meuron teamed up with local firm PBDW Architects to convert the space into galleries with The Grand Hall, an exhibition space/event space, on the top floor. In the fall of 2022, Powerhouse will debut programs for ceramics membership, community engagement, and mission-driven tenant and events rentals.

Variety Boys and Girls Club Planetarium

Completion estimated for 2026
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Queens planetarium Variety Boys and Girls Club Planetarium Rendering (Senator Michael Gianaris - Flickr)
As it currently stands, Queens residents who want to visit the planetarium have to take a subway trip to the Hayden Planetarium on Manhattan's Upper West Side. But in September 2022, a $1 million state grant was provided to fund the borough’s first-ever planetarium. It will be located at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens in Astoria, where it will be part of the club's redevelopment and is expected to serve more than 10,000 people a year.

Completion estimated for 2024
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Universal-Hip-Hop-Museum-01 Rendering of the Universal Hip Hop Museum via S9 Architecture
The Universal Hip Hop Museum is a key component of the Bronx Point development taking shape on the Harlem River waterfront. It will occupy 50,000 square feet and feature hip hop artifacts, a recording studio experience, a DJ booth, a graffiti station, and a virtual reality theater. Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, Nas, and Fat Joe were among the luminaries in attendance at a May 2021 groundbreaking ceremony; the museum had long hoped to open in 2023, in time for the 50th anniversary of hip hop, but according to CBS News, a late 2024 opening is more likely.

Completion estimated for 2025
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Bronx-Museum-01 Rendering of The Bronx Museum (Marvel Architects)
In fall 2022, Marvel Architects revealed a schematic for the renovation of The Bronx Museum. This calls for elegantly integrating the north and south wings of the South Atrium for a singular and cohesive experience. Jonathan Marvel said in a statement that their goal was to blur the boundaries of building and sidewalk; to that end, the main entrance will be relocated to the highly visible Grand Concourse and 165th Street, and the reimagined lobby will include large, street-facing displays for rotating installations. Construction is expected to begin this year.
Bronx Museum
Bronx Museum

Completed in 2022
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Bronx Children's Museum (NYC Department of Design and Construction)
The Bronx had long been the only one of the five boroughs without a permanent children's museum, but that changed at the end of 2022. The design by O’Neill McVoy Architects was inspired by psychologist Jean Piaget's Child's Conception of Space; as such, the interior spaces are designed in perspective from a child's height and distinguished by low partitions that maximize visibility for caregivers while creating a rich spatial experience for children. The main exhibition space is divided into three primary areas - Early Learner, Community Arts, and Natural Sciences - and the interiors are distinguished by the use of natural materials. It opened to the public on December 3, 2022 in what Bronx Community Board 4 Chair Robert Garméndiz called "an early Christmas present" to the children of the borough.
Bronx Children's Museum

Completion estimated for 2030
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Governors-Island-01 Aerial rendering of Climate Exchange (SOM | Miysis)
Governors Island has come a long way from its days as a Union barracks and Confederate prison during the Civil War: Since the federal government returned it to the City and State of New York in 2003, it has been transformed into a public park, event space, picnic spot, spa locale...and that's just the beginning. A 19th-century warehouse was transformed into a year-round home for the arts, which opened in September 2019. More recently, in April 2023, Mayor Adams, Trust for Governors Island, and SUNY Stony Brook University unveiled the New York Climate Exchange, a state-of-the-art campus dedicated to researching and developing climate solutions.

The 400,000-square-foot campus will include classrooms, laboratories, public exhibition space, student and faculty housing, and an auditorium space. It will include New York's first commercial buildings utilizing mass timber and be underpinned with an all-electric infrastructure, a geothermal and heat pump network, and non-potable water demand met with rainwater or treated wastewater. Over 20 years in the making, and a cornerstone of the mayor's "Rebuilt, Renew, Reinvent" initiative, construction is expected to commence in 2025.
Governors-Island-02

Completion estimated for 2026

Pompidou Center Jersey City Rendering via OMA
In June 2021, the Centre Pompidou raised some eyebrows when it announced plans to open its first North American satellite in Jersey City. However, it made sense to city officials and museum executives alike. Jersey City has been working to establish itself as a center for arts and culture, and a century-old commercial building in Journal Square is set to be transformed into a museum. When it opens, it will present works from the Pompidou’s extensive collection of modern art just a PATH ride away from Midtown. A 2024 opening was long projected, but Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop has conceded that, owing to the pandemic and the extensive process surrounding the building's conversion, a 2026 opening is more likely.

Completed in 2019
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Statue-of-Liberty-Museum-01 Statue of Liberty Museum via Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
Ever since the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, it has served as a beacon of hope and inspiration to immigrants making their way to America. Over 100 years later, the Statue of Liberty Museum opened in 2019 as the home of American heirlooms and interactive exhibits alike. Separate tickets to the museum are not necessary.

Public Art Installations
Mother Cabrini
Mother-Cabrini-01 Photo via Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Flickr
The Columbus Day parade did not take place in October 2020, but the city still paid tribute to a luminary of Italian descent: A statue of Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants and the first American citizen to be canonized by the Catholic Church, was unveiled in Battery Park. In a speech at the ceremony, then-Governor Cuomo said, “In this complex world, may this statue serve to remind us of the principles that made us great as a country and as a people.”

Women's Rights Pioneers
Women's-Rights-Pioneers-01 Photo via Emily Dombroff
On August 26, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, Hillary Clinton spoke in Central Park at an unveiling ceremony for Meredith Bergmann’s statue of activists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The statue on Liberty Walk is the first one of real-life women in Central Park (fictional characters may be found elsewhere). Non-profit Monumental Women was at the helm of the project and said in a statement, “It’s fitting that the first statue of real women in the park depicts women working together to fight for equality and justice, as women will continue to do until the battle is won.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg-01 Rendering via Gillie and Marc
Barely a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Governor Cuomo announced a commission to oversee the creation of a permanent statue of the Brooklyn-born judge. It could take some time before this statue is ready, but admirers will not have to wait that long: A bronze statues of Justice Ginsburg, originally designed as part of artist duo Gillie and Marc’s “Statues for Equality” installation, was permanently installed outside the City Point development on March 15, 2021, which would have been her 88th birthday.

Newtown Creek
Newtown-Creek-01 Photo via GreenPoint Innovations
In the Hunters Point section of Long Island City, a massive mural depicting a heron, cormorant, and sunset has taken shape on the side of a new school building. The design by Federico Massa stems from a contest that took place during Climate Week 2020 and aimed to highlight global climate issues through art. To that end, the design went up with environmentally friendly paint and recycled and repurposed materials to be the city's first carbon neutral street artwork.

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