Pop-up performances will be coming to the city and state this spring as part of two initiatives announced by the mayor and the governor to help the theater community make a comeback after nearly a year without live performances.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan calls for hundreds of performing arts events around the state as part of a long-term plan to bring back in-person events scuttled by the pandemic.
The program, called NY PopsUp, will include 300 events over 100 days around New York. Eventually, these events will ramp up to include spectators, Cuomo said, as the state moves toward venues reopening with COVID-19 testing protocol in place.
Cuomo said this could eventually lead to a limited reopening of Broadway theaters, which have been closed for nearly a year.
"That is where we are headed," Cuomo said. "The overall effort is headed towards reopening with testing. We're going to be smart, but also aggressive about it."
The first event will take place on February 20 at the Javits Center in Manhattan. It will be a special tribute to health care workers.
An initial model for this were a pair of Buffalo Bills playoff games last month held outdoors. And wedding ceremonies, capped at 150 people with testing requirements in place, are set to begin again next month.
The governor had initially announced the proposal in his State of the State address last month. There's no timeline for when venues may be able to fully reopen.
Cuomo wants to revamp the performing arts industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.
"We have to nurture that industry to bring it back," Cuomo said.
The mayor’s plan, called Open Culture, was also unveiled Monday and is modeled after the Open Streets initiative.
“Open Culture is another step towards our recovery for our city,” Department of Culture Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “ It brings stages to our neighborhoods and culture to the heart of our neighbors and give artists cultural institutions and creatives a place to showcase their talents as they recover from the pandemic,” said Casals.
The program will allow cultural organizations to apply for singe-day permits to provide outdoor entertainment at 115 street locations across the five boroughs.
The mayor compared this effort to Open Restaurants, which has allowed eateries to serve in the streets while indoor dining has been shut down or restricted.
“Ten thousand restaurants took advantage and took street space and sidewalk space and made it something beautiful. This is going to be the cultural equivalent, bring culture out into the streets of the city for all to enjoy for free,” the mayor said.