When I go to the Lincoln Center, it's usually in the evening, to watch the New York City Ballet do their stuff. I don't go all that often - certainly not as much as I would like - but that didn't stop me wanting to live close to the Lincoln Center, in what's called the Lincoln Square area, when we moved to the Upper West Side. I didn't get my wish, as our dream apartment happened to fall outside that space, but the beauty of this little island is that nothing's really all that far away. I can walk to Lincoln Center, or if I'm wearing impractical shoes, (as is usually the case when I'm going to see the ballet) catch the subway or a cab. It takes little time and effort, and what you do exert comes back to you tenfold. At least.
Seeing the Lincoln Center from the outside is completely free. Open to everyone. Seeing the inside may cost you a little, but not much. Tickets to almost every performance that the New York City Ballet puts on start at $29, and it's not all that much more to get really decent seats. I dare say operas, recitals, and symphonies are similar. Amazing galas, first nights, and private performances are held there regularly, but not as often as the events to which any old pleb* can go.
I walked** down to Lincoln Center in the daytime recently, hoping to get into the David H. Koch Theater to see the Faile art exhibition that's currently on. The only fail that day was my mission, despite what I thought was a quality attempt at flirting with the box office guy, but I did have fun taking some photos. I'm going to have to try to get to the ballet before the winter season is over - after all, with an amazing art exhibition and then incredible dancing and music, it's even more of a bargain.
Not long after this, I went on another daytime trek to the Lincoln Center, this time visiting Alice Tully Hall, to see a free lunchtime piano recital. Juilliard students put these on every Wednesday, from 1pm - 2pm, and they are, in a word, phenomenal. If you're visiting New York, taking the time to attend one of these recitals, followed by an afternoon in Central Park and an evening at the ballet, would be close to a perfect day. Even if you live here, taking a day off work to do this would be more than worth it. When it's warmer, that is***.
*Like meeeeee, for example.
**It was a very wintry day, so I wore practical, flat, warm boots.
***Excuse the slightly hamfisted hinting.