New York City Plans a Central Park Mega-Concert to Celebrate Reopening

Brunch crowds are again. Rush-hour visitors is again. Tourists in horse-drawn carriages are again.

But the very best proof that New York City has returned to its full glory could also be a mega-concert within the inexperienced expanse of Central Park.

Seeking a grand image of New York’s revitalization after a brutal pandemic yr, Mayor Bill de Blasio has is planning a large-scale efficiency by a number of acts and has referred to as on Clive Davis, the 89-year-old producer and music-industry eminence, to pull it collectively.

The present, tentatively set for Aug. 21, remains to be coming collectively, with no artists confirmed, although Mr. Davis — whose five-decade profession highlights have included working with Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston — stated he’s aiming for eight “iconic” stars to carry out a three-hour present for 60,000 attendees and a worldwide tv viewers.

Mr. de Blasio stated in an interview that the live performance was a part of a “Homecoming Week” to present that New York City is getting back from the pandemic — a celebration for residents and people within the area who may not have visited in a whereas.

“This concert is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Mr. de Blasio stated. “It’s going to be an amazing lineup. The whole week is going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before in New York City.”

The present could be the newest in a storied custom of Central Park super-productions that have a tendency to appeal to worldwide protection and to paint New York as a peaceable, cosmopolitan haven for the humanities. Many New Yorkers, particularly the mayor, might welcome that view after the prevalence of pandemic-era photos like a abandoned Times Square and boarded-up storefronts amid final summer time’s protests within the wake of the homicide of George Floyd.

Clive Davis, the producer, stated he’s aiming to recruit eight main stars to share the billing for the live performance, set for Aug. 21.Credit…Bryan Derballa for The New York Times

“I can’t think of a better place than the Great Lawn of Central Park to be the place where you say that New York is reopening,” Mr. Davis stated in an interview.

Mr. Davis stated that Mr. de Blasio referred to as him three weeks in the past, across the time of Mr. Davis’s newest Grammy gala, which he has been internet hosting every year since 1976. As Mr. Davis recalled, the mayor requested him to current a present in partnership with town that might rejoice New York’s reopening and emphasize the necessity to vaccinate extra younger folks. The occasion’s working title offers a sense of its meant gravity: “The Official NYC Homecoming Concert in Central Park.”

“I was greatly honored,” stated Mr. Davis, who grew up in Brooklyn.

Mr. Davis stated that he and his workforce, which incorporates his son Doug, a music lawyer, are nonetheless at work reserving artists, and he declined to supply any names of these he has in thoughts. Sponsorship offers are additionally within the works, he stated. The mayor’s workplace stated it will announce a broadcast accomplice quickly.

But a variety of particulars for the occasion have already been set. Live Nation, the worldwide live performance big, is concerned with the manufacturing, and nearly all of tickets can be free, though there can be some V.I.P. seating, Mr. Davis stated.

The Great Lawn — a 13-acre oval within the middle of the park close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Delacorte Theater and the reservoir — has lengthy been town’s essentially the most prestigious setting for out of doors live shows, telegraphing a sense of the very coronary heart of New York.

The Central Park Conservancy, which manages the park, has a popularity for being strict and considered in doling out licenses for main performances there. The group’s web site barely mentions live shows, noting that a renovation in 1997 “restored the lawn to balance both active sports use and quiet relaxation.” But the mayor’s workplace stated the conservancy helps the concept.

The Great Lawn has been the positioning of live shows and different main public occasions because the 1970s. Carole King serenaded 70,000 folks there in 1973. Elton John performed in 1980 — in a duck swimsuit, amongst different outfits —  and the next yr Simon & Garfunkel reunited for an estimated 400,000 folks. Diana Ross carried out in 1983, Luciano Pavarotti in 1993 and the Dave Matthews Band in 2003.

The New York Philharmonic performs the Great Lawn as a part of its tour of metropolis parks every summer time, and since 2012 the Global Citizen Festival has held common occasions there with star-studded lineups together with Beyoncé, Metallica, Neil Young and Coldplay. (Garth Brooks drew lots of of 1000’s to the North Meadow, above 97th Street, in 1997.)

But whilst New York, dormant for a yr, now races towards a reopening for leisure venues — at a current information convention with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, James L. Dolan, the chief government of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, promised a “blockbuster summer” — the prospect of a large-scale public occasion should still pose problems for well being and crowd management.

While the state has promoted its vaccine passport Excelsior Pass as a manner for eating places, theater operators and others to verify patrons’ vaccination standing, the system remains to be new and has not been very broadly adopted by both the general public or many companies. According to the state, about 1.1 million passes had been downloaded as of final week, representing solely a fraction of the 9.1 million New Yorkers who’ve been vaccinated.

The mayor’s workplace stated there could be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections on the live performance, and that about 70 p.c of tickets would go to people who find themselves vaccinated. The metropolis has been working arduous to vaccinate residents who’re reluctant to get the shot.

A profitable occasion may very well be a political triumph for Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat in his final yr in workplace who has repeatedly clashed with Mr. Cuomo. Mr. de Blasio’s reputation sank after his failed presidential run in 2019, and lots of dad and mom have been annoyed over the chaotic reopening of faculties throughout the pandemic.

But Mr. de Blasio has lately embraced his function as New York City’s cheerleader as thousands and thousands of individuals have been vaccinated and town has began to reopen. Several of the candidates who’re working to succeed him as mayor say they need to maintain a main celebration, together with Andrew Yang who proposed a five-borough occasion hosted by his pal Dave Chappelle, the comic.

Mr. de Blasio stated he was excited to have Mr. Davis on board and in contrast the occasion to a homecoming at a school, the place alumni collect to reconnect. He stated he needs to present that town is prepared for September, when many extra staff are anticipated to return to places of work in Manhattan.

Mr. de Blasio stated he had been to live shows on the Great Lawn, together with seeing Stevie Wonder on the Global Citizen Festival a number of years in the past.

“It’s an absolutely stunning place for the concert,” he stated. “It makes you feel a deep connection to New York City.”

It may be a late-career feather within the cap of Mr. Davis, who has spent greater than 50 years as one of many reigning dons of the music .

Mr. Davis stated he seen the central message of the occasion as a easy and optimistic one.

“There’s a mental attitude that I think we are all looking forward to,” he stated. “That the future is bright and healthy for this country, for the world and for New York City.”