Monday Bulletin: Pop-Up Philharmonic Concerts, Parole Denied, Library’s Pandemic Project, School Inequities

Photo by @nycwestside.

August 31, 2020 Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high of 74 degrees.

Our calendar is full of events you can enjoy from home like Summer on the Hudson’s “Yoga Flow Online.”

Closed out of Geffen Hall and tired of virtual performances, members of the New York Philharmonic are giving surprise “street-corner concerts” for the next several weeks as part of a new initiative called the NY Phil Bandwagon, The Wall Street Journal reported. “The concerts—as many as three daily—are more like flash-mob events in that the orchestra doesn’t announce locations in advance. The idea is to avoid having too large a crowd gathering during these times when social distancing remains a concern…” NY Phil recently performed in Dante Park, which “sits almost directly opposite Geffen Hall, a point that didn’t go unnoticed by the Philharmonic musicians…”

The killer of the Upper West Side’s most beloved musician was denied parole for the 11th time this month. Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon of The Beatles on December 8, 1980, “hours after Lennon autographed an album for him,” according to the AP. “He has said previously that he feels ‘more and more shame’ every year for the crime. ‘I was too far in,’ Chapman told a parole board in 2018. ‘I do remember having the thought of, ‘Hey, you have got the album now. Look at this, he signed it, just go home.’ But there was no way I was just going to go home.’”

The Belnord, a full-block building on West 86th Street, contains a 22,000-square-foot landmarked courtyard, which was completely redone last month, Architectural Digest reported. “‘It had fallen on hard times,’” says Edmund Hollander, the landscape architect who oversaw the Belnord courtyard’s overhaul. “‘I studied horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. The interesting thing about that is you get to understand how things grow in New York City. A courtyard in a building is unlike anything you find in nature. So it’s about marrying appropriate architecture with appropriate ecology…so you don’t end up with a courtyard where half the plants are dead.”

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has started a new initiative that invites New Yorkers to submit audio recordings of themselves or their loved ones telling personal stories about life during the era of COVID-19.” It’s called The Pandemic Diaries Project, and Manhattan BP Gale Brewer sent us word of it. They’re looking for “reflections on a number of relevant topics, including families and parenting, essential workers, life in quarantine, protests for racial justice, and much more. Interested contributors can submit their audio recording via an online form that the NYPL has set up here.

Now is the time to fix inequities in school funding, argues State Senator Robert Jackson in an op-ed in the Daily News. “The governor’s refusal to fairly fund education has forced us to return to court. A coalition of statewide education organizations, parents and students is currently preparing for trial in New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights (NYSER) vs. State of New York. Ironically, Attorney General Tish James, who campaigned for office as ‘the people’s lawyer,’ is not only defending the governor’s attempt to deny millions of students their constitutional rights; she has retained the same Atlanta law firm that was paid more than $8 million in legal fees to join the state’s losing cause in the CFE litigation. (Two major New York law firms are working for the NYSER plaintiffs pro bono.)”

COLUMNS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. EdNY says:

      A minor point: notwithstanding John Lennon’s enormous talent and the tragic circumstances of his death, I question your description of him as “the Upper West Side’s most beloved musician.” I imagine Leonard Bernstwin might outpoll him.

      • Carol Tannenhauser says:

        Assuming you meant Bernstein, your point is well taken 🙂

      • Deb says:

        Mr. Bernstein may be our neighborhood’s most beloved composer, conductor, and music educator (I attended his Young People’s Concerts in the 1960s), but not our most beloved musician. There is a difference…

        • notsofast says:

          What do you think the difference is? Composers, conductors, & music educators are certainly musicians. In some cases (including Lennon’s), so are rock stars. I don’t think there is a difference. Perhaps you’re using some eccentric, purely personal definition of the word.

          • EdNY says:

            He was also a prodigious pianist. But also of enormous significance were his social conscience and activities which would make the UWS the only logical place for him to have made his home. Nothing I have ever experienced demonstrated his connection with the UWS more than his score to “West Side Story” played live by HIS New York Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanying the showing of the film, in the concert hall built on the site of that movie’s story. Talk about poignancy!

          • David says:

            If you asked anyone who Leonard Bernstein was, “musician” would not be the first, second, or third answer.

      • Deb says:

        Fun Fact: both Lennon and Bernstein lived in The Dakota, and Bernstein died on Lennon’s birthday 10 years after Lennon’s death.

      • MK says:

        They lived in the same building and admired each other! Lenny was a big fan of The Beatles.

    2. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      I’m a big John Lennon fan, but there is a long long list of beloved Upper West Side musicians. Miles Davis (W. 77th). Paul Simon (the same floor as Lorne Michaels, i think on CPW). Peter Yarrow. Judy Garland (the Dakota). Bono (the San Remo). Alicia Keys (Manhattan Plaza… ok, not technically UWS). Too many classical composers and musicians to name. I’m sure there are some readers who can name dozens of great UWS musicians.

      UWS buildings “back in the day” were packed with actors, musicians, comedians, directors, theater people of all types… and therapists. now many creative people have been priced out of the UWS.

      I guess some would consider that “progress.” I’m not one of them.

    3. Marcia Kaye says:

      I think commenters are reading the Lennon reference with a blinkered view; it wasn’t just
      his music that made people respond to John and his (and Paul’s) music. He was an important and progressive musician who lived among us on the west side,and died a tragic death there. People felt and many still feel a connection to him. Not something we got from Judy Garland or Leonard Bernstein.