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The New York Philharmonic would surely have had a better half-century with an acoustically superior home, and nonstentorian opera stars might have conquered New York but for the Met auditoriumís excessive dimensions. Overall, though, Lincoln Centerís benefits far outweigh its faults. Artistic pleasure would have been enhanced by a first-rate architectural landmark on the level of Gehryís Disney Concert Hall In L.A. or Jean Nouvelís Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. But Lincoln Center has given generations of never-satisfied New Yorkers something to complain about without fear of contradiction. One cannot imagine life in Americaís cultural capital without it.

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