New York City Center has been central to the vitality of the performing arts of New York since its first renovation in 1943 when Mayor LaGuardia dedicated it as Manhattan's first performing arts center. Since then it has been providing a wide range of popular entertainments-dance, musical theater, music, operetta, and drama. The extensive 2011 renovation preserved and restored the 1923 building's historic neo-Moorish features originally constructed as the National Mecca Temple for the Shriners while modernizing and upgrading the facility to create a world-class cultural center.
The Mainstage Theater's main floor has been re-ranked for improved sightlines, and seating has been replaced. Under-balcony ceilings and rear walls have been reshaped and received acoustic treatment for an enhanced acoustic experience. The Orchestra pit has been reshaped to project sound out in the house, improving ensemble and preventing loudness build-up. The renovation also included installation of a new sprung stage floor, new elevator shaft, and modernized dressing rooms and back of stage areas.