NYU: Skirball Center For The Performing Arts
Greenwich Village is undoubtedly one of the most iconic neighborhoods in New York City. This section of downtown Manhattan is so well-known that its name, it's nickname of “the Village,” and even its general reputation as a longtime epicenter of arts and bohemian proclivities are well-known the world over. As a small neighborhood, there are few sections of any city that are as famous as the Village. A bit less well-known is the reason that Greenwich Village became what it is today. There are myriad factors that led to the Village becoming the Village, but none of it would have happened if not for the founding of the country's largest private university, NYU, in 1831..
When New York University was founded, Greenwich Village was still a quiet, relatively idyllic part of the city, an area that held mostly private properties of wealthy families. The landmarked row of houses lining Washington Square North is a remnant from those days. However, the inauspicious founding of the small, private school would, along with the construction of relatively affordable housing in the area, led to a confluence of students, artists, writers and poets to create a unique environment of creative energy to rival the Left Bank of Paris.
As the Village evolved and transformed over the next century and a half, so did New York University. NYU is now a behemoth with over 57,000 students and campuses throughout the city. The main campus is still in Greenwich Village, spread out throughout the neighborhood with a particular concentration around Washington Square Park. The Greenwich Village campus includes the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, appropriate for a famously artistic area, as well as the Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
The Skirball Center is a relatively new addition to the city and to the neighborhood, completed in 2003. This downtown arts venue is yet another perk of living in the area not only for NYU students, but also for those with apartments near NYU. Students and Manhattan residents with apartments near NYU can enjoy a packed schedule of exciting events hosted at the Skirball Center regularly. Speakers like Al Gore visit the performing arts center for dialogues on various subjects, and the venue also hosts musical events such as performances of Hairspray by the Tisch New Theatre and performances of the acclaimed concerto Al-Andalis by Mohammed Fairouz. The Skirball Centre is also the place for arts fans with apartments near NYU to catch broadcast performances from the National Theatre, including their rendition of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” in a theatrical setting.
Like I independent cinemas such as the IFC Center and the Angelika, as well as independent theatres such as Under St Mark’s, the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is part of what is keeping the tradition of nearly two centuries of world-class arts alive and well in the Village area.