Despite all of the life changes New Yorkers are currently grappling with, some things remain the same. The annual magic of Manhattanhenge has officially returned, bringing a much-needed moment of zen to the city. Twice a year the sunset aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s street grid, providing a picture-perfect glow radiating between two skyscrapers. As first reported by Gothamist, the phenomenon took place on May 30, with the second event happening on July 12.
Two summers ago, Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library launched Culture Pass, a program that provided free access to more than 30 museums and cultural institutions for library card holders. With all of these locations closed or operating at limited capacity during the pandemic, the three libraries have teamed up to take Culture Pass digital this summer, launching a new series of more than 70 original online programs, which will be free for children and adults through August 20.
After Macy’s announced yesterday that their annual July 4th Fireworks display in NYC would go on despite the pandemic, headlined by John Legend, Mayor de Blasio said in his press conference today that the show will take on a new life this year. There will be five-minute “brief but mighty” bursts of fireworks throughout the five boroughs from June 29th through July 1st, culminating in a finale on Saturday, July 4th, which will be televised from the top of the Empire State Building. On their website, Macy’s says they “expect to announce details of the reimagined event soon.”
Juneteenth has been observed by African Americans nationwide for more than 150 years as a celebration of the day enslaved Black people were liberated in the United States. This year, as Black Lives Matter demonstrations continue across New York City, the holiday takes on special significance as a day of action, reflection, and education. New York officials are recognizing the weight of the anniversary by making Juneteenth an official state holiday and a city holiday, set to be observed by public schools next year. Although the festivals and cookouts of the past are on hold this year in light of the coronavirus, there are many virtual and socially distanced events happening across the city, from a digital day of dance to a cyclist-led Freedom Ride.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
This year’s 52nd annual U.S. Open will be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens from August 31st to September 13th without fans, Governor Cuomo announced in his press conference today. The U.S. Tennis Association will “take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff,” which will include robust testing, increased cleaning, extra space in locker rooms, and dedicated housing and transportation. Last year’s event set an all-time attendance record of 737,872, bringing in $400 million in revenue, 80 percent of the USTA’s annual total.
While most of New York City’s annual summer activities and celebrations have been canceled or postponed this year because of the coronavirus, one event will still take place. Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest will forge ahead in Coney Island on July 4, but with no fans, fewer eaters, and social distancing measures in place.
This week’s roster of virtual events pays attention to our current times, from a look at how the restaurant industry reopens with chef Marcus Samuelsson to a special food-based conversation around Juneteenth. In addition, the 92Y continues its “92Y Confronts Hate” series, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden streams a concert by composer-trombonist Craig Harris, whose music has been focused on the art of breathing since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. You can also take virtual tours of Gowanus and the mansions of the Hamptons.
2020 marks 50 years since the first NYC Pride March was held, one year after the Stonewall riots. Though the LGBTQIA+ and New York City communities aren’t able to celebrate in the big way that NYC Pride had planned, there will still be a special virtual March, along with many other ways to mark this momentous occasion from home, from panel discussions to a virtual 5K run to rallies and conferences.
After last performing on March 11 and facing revenue losses nearing $100 million, The Met Opera has announced that it’s cancelling its fall season with hopes to resume with a New Year’s Eve gala. The opera’s general manager Peter Gelb told the New York Times that “It’s transparently obvious that social distancing and grand opera cannot go together. It’s not just the audience; it’s the health of the company. You cannot put a symphony orchestra inside a pit, and performers and a chorus in intimate proximity on the stage of the Met.”
Starting on Monday, the Brooklyn Museum is temporarily transforming its parking lot into a weekly food bank. The institution announced last week a partnership with The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH), a Bed-Stuy based nonprofit that has served about one million meals to New Yorkers in need during the coronavirus pandemic. The museum has been closed since March 13.