New York State Announces “NY PopsUp” Program of Live Performances

As the anniversary of the first COVID-19 cases in New York approaches, the state’s governor and the mayor of its largest city announced programs to support live performances. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that “NY PopsUp” is set to begin on February 20 in New York City with a free performance for health care workers that will feature Jon Batiste, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Ayodele Casel traveling across the city’s five boroughs to perform in parks, on street corners, and outside hospitals. The series includes a run of more than 300 free pop-up performances that ends on Labor Day.

Cuomo is tapping film producers Scott Rudin (No Country for Old Men, Lady Bird) and Jane Rosenthal (Tribeca Film Festival) to run the program with the New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Development. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Patti Smith, Q-Tip, Aparna Nancherla, and Dev Hynes are among the first performers 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 City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday the details of the Open Culture program, a new permit for ticketed performances from the mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office. De Blasio also announced a city program called “Curtains Up NYC,” offering aid to arts institutions seeking federal grants, including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, f.k.a. 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 beginning of the pandemic. New York is currently reporting close to 10,000 new cases per day, similar to the peak of the state’s first wave in April 2020.


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