NYC museums, events, performances: What’s reopening and what’s cancelled this year

Posted On Thu, July 9, 2020 By

Posted On Thu, July 9, 2020 By In Events, Features, Museums, Top Stories

Though many public spaces and venues won’t be able to reopen until the fourth phase of reopening, we’re starting to see some plans surfacing. In some cases, it’s positive news–the Met will reopen on August 29th, the Yankees and the Mets have started training at their home fields. In other cases, reopening is further off–Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Met Opera have all cancelled their fall seasons. We’re also seeing events, like the U.S. Open, taking on a new life, while others, like the NYC Marathon, will have to wait until next year. But whatever the case, 6sqft has put together a list of reopenings, postponements, and cancellations for New York City’s many museums, performance venues, outdoor spaces, and events.


MTV Video Music Awards
The 2020 VMAs will be held at the Barclays Center on Sunday, August 30 with limited or no audience.

U.S. Open
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.

NYC Marathon
New York Road Runners and the Mayor’s Office have canceled the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon, set to take place on November 1.


Broadway went dark as of 5:00pm on Thursday, March 12th and will stay this way for the remainder of the year. As of now, they will issue ticket refunds and exchanges for performances through January 3, 2021.

Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center has cancelled all of its fall programming. As of now, the Great Performers series is scheduled to resume on February 6, 2021, and the David Rubenstein Atrium Season on a yet-to-be-determined date in February. The White Light Festival will not take place this year.

The Metropolitan Opera
After last performing on March 11, The Met Opera has announced that it’s cancelling its fall season with hopes to resume with a New Year’s Eve gala.

NYC Ballet
The NYC Ballet has cancelled its fall 2020 season, which includes its popular holiday production of The Nutcracker, which was scheduled to take place from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 3.

New York Philharmonic
In coordination with Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic has cancelled its fall season, including all performances through January 5, 2021.

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall has cancelled its fall season, including all performances through January 6, 2021.

Joyce Theater
All performances at the Joyce have been canceled through August 16.


Phase four allows low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums, operating at 25-percent capacity.

New York Public Library
As part of a phased reopening, on July 13, eight branches of the New York Public Library will reopen for grab-and-go pickups and book returns. These are: George BruceEpiphany, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation LibraryBelmontFrancis MartinParkchesterRichmondtown, and Todt Hill-Westerleigh.

Brooklyn Public Library
Seven BPL branches will reopen on July 13 in accordance with the NYPL’s phased reopening–Bay RidgeBushwickKings HighwayCentralNew LotsFlatbush, and Red Hook. The main branch will also offer “on-demand book service;” a second phase will give patrons access to the first floor for browsing and self-service kiosks.

Queens Public Library
The QPL locations that will reopen on July 13 are: BaysideBelleroseEast ElmhurstKew Gardens HillsLaureltonLong Island City, and Peninsula.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met plans to reopen on August 29 with new social distancing measures that will be announced ahead of time. The Cloisters, their branch in Washington Heights, will reopen shortly after. The Met Breuer branch will not reopen; it will be taken over by the Frick.

Museum of the City of New York
Despite layoffs and a reduced budget, the museum plans to reopen on July 23 in a limited capacity. Their curators are preparing for a fall exhibit about the coronavirus in NYC, “New York Responds: Beyond Covid,” but an outdoor exhibit of the same name will be on view later this month. Other exhibitions — including “Activist New York” and “New York at Its Core” will also be on view.

New-York Historical Society
The NYHS plans to reopen on August 14 with a free, outdoor exhibition, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, in its rear courtyard. On September 11, the Museum plans to reopen indoors, with new safety protocols in place.

9/11 Memorial & Museum
The 9/11 Memorial reopened on Saturday, July 4. Visitors are required to wear masks, with social distancing in place. The 9/11 Memorial Museum remains temporarily closed.

New York Aquarium
In Coney Island, the New York aquarium will reopen to members on Monday, July 20, and to the general public on Friday, July 24. All visitors must reserve a date-specific ticket in advance.


Phase four allows low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens, operating at 33-percent capacity.

NYC Public Parks
All city parks (Central Park, Prospect Park, etc.) are open, as are park restrooms. Playgrounds within city parks are open, but face masks and social distancing are required.

As of July 6, when the city entered phase three, outdoor recreation like basketball, handball, tennis, bocce, and volleyball were allowed to resume. Dog runs also reopened.

NYC Beaches
City beaches reopened for swimming on July 1.

Open Streets
NYC now has 67 miles of open streets, the most in the nation. Mayor de Blasio has committed to opening 100 miles of streets to pedestrians and bicyclists during the pandemic.

Community Gardens
GreenThumb community gardens are now open to the general public, but this is garden-dependent, so check to see the policy of your garden.

GrowNYC’s greenmarkets and farmstands are open with social distancing. A few are closed, and they are listed in the link above.

The High Line
On July 16, the High Line will reopen to the public with a timed entry system. Free reservations will be available starting at 10a.m. on July 9.

Governors Island
Governors Island will reopen to the public on July 15 for passive activities only. There will be a new reservation system for ferries, which will be free for all residents of the New York City Housing Authority and other community organizations. Tickets can be reserved starting Friday, July 10 at 10am.

Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Park remains open with social distancing requirements, but certain areas have been closed.

Domino Park
Domino Park remains open and has installed social-distancing circles for visitors.

Bronx Zoo + Central Park Zoo + Prospect Park Zoo + Queens Zoo
All Wildlife Conservation Society zoos in NYC will reopen to members on Monday, July 20, and to the general public on Friday, July 24. All visitors must reserve a date-specific ticket in advance.

Snug Harbor
On Staten Island, the Snug Harbor cultural center and botanic garden has kept its main outdoor grounds and gardens open to the public, however, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden are closed until further notice. All public programming is also postponed. A drive-through testing site has been set up at the West Gate.


Under phase two, restaurants are currently allowed to open for outdoor dining. Phase three allows for indoor dining at 50-percent capacity, but this has been postponed in New York City due to compliance issues and COVID surges around the country. More than 7,000 restaurants are currently participating in outdoor dining, and the city is working to expand this to open streets.


Phase four allows professional sports without fans.

Major League Baseball will resume “spring” training on July 1. Opening day games are scheduled for July 23 and 24, with no fans. The training will take place at home stadiums, in the Bronx for the Yankees and Flushing for the Mets.


Phase two allows places of worship to operate with 25-percent occupancy; in phase three, that increases to 33-percent.


6sqft will be updating this list as more announcements are made. The last update was on June 25, 2020. Note that this is not a full list, and it was not issued by a government agency. For more information, check out 6sqft’s reopening guide

Lead image: U.S. Open photo via Wikimedia Commons; Broadway photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash; Photo of Coney Island beach by Dan DeLuca on Flickr; Photo of The Met by Alex Proimos on Wikimedia



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