As the anniversary of the first COVID-19 cases in New York approaches, the state governor and mayor of his largest city announced programs to support live performance. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that “NY PopsUp” will begin on February 20 in New York City with a free performance for healthcare workers featuring Jon Batiste, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Ayodele Casel all over the United States The five boroughs of the city appear in parks, on street corners and outside of hospitals. The series includes more than 300 free pop-up performances that end on Labor Day.
Cuomo taps film producers Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men, Lady Bird) and Jane Rosenthal (Tribeca Film Festival) to lead the program with the New York State Council for Art and Empire State Development. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Patti Smith, Q-Tip, Aparna Nancherla and Dev Hynes were among the first artists to be booked. “We’re trying to thread the needle,” Cuomo told the New York Times. “We want the performances. We don’t want mass gatherings, we don’t want large crowds. “
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the details of the Open Culture program, a new ticket launch permit from the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office, on Monday. De Blasio also announced a city program, titled Curtains Up NYC, to help arts institutions applying for federal grants, including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, fka Save Our Stages.
According to the New York Times, at the time of the announcement, there have been at least 1,489,453 cases and 44,512 deaths in New York since the pandemic began. New York is currently reporting nearly 10,000 new cases per day, similar to the peak of the state’s first wave in April 2020.