The Pershing Square Signature Center, located on a spit of West 42nd Street that abuts the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, is a study in contrasts. It occupies the first two floors of a 63-story glass building whose upper stories house an “ultra luxury” condominium complex. Much of the surrounding landscape—including a commuter thoroughfare dotted with budget inns and beige office buildings—suggests a neighborhood unaccustomed to being in the spotlight.

The center is home to the...

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