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A Bright Future for New York City’s Summer

New York Times - Thu Apr 8 09:06

New York Today

Weather: Today will be sunny with a high in the mid-60s, turning partly cloudy tonight with temperatures in the high 40s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until April 29 (Holy Thursday, Orthodox).


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Credit...September Dawn Bottoms/The New York Times

With the number of vaccinated New Yorkers growing every day, a summer filled with splashing in the pool and attending live performances is on the horizon.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city’s outdoor pools and beaches would reopen on schedule, after a partial and delayed reopening last year. The announcement comes as city theaters, music venues and comedy clubs begin to reopen their doors for the first time since March 2020.

“Summer is right around the corner, and we’re gearing up for an on-time pool and beach season,” Mr. de Blasio said in a news release. “These beautiful outdoor spaces mean so much to New Yorkers, especially after the year we’ve all had.”

As of Wednesday, over 4.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in New York City, as the city works toward its goal of vaccinating five million people by June. The city’s seven-day average test positivity rate was 6.52 percent as of Monday.

Here’s what else you need to know:

All eight New York City beaches will be open for swimming and sunbathing beginning Memorial Day weekend, while nearly all of the city’s 53 outdoor pools will open June 26 — the first day of summer vacation for public school students.

Five outdoor pools will remain closed because of ongoing renovations.

Face masks and social distancing protocols will still be in place this summer. The city’s indoor pools will remain closed until further notice.

Public beaches and swimming pools are woven into the fabric of the city. The free-of-charge urban oases have historically served low-income families, especially those in need of relief from the sweltering heat.

Last summer was bleak for many families — city beaches were open for only a few weeks while only a fraction of outdoor public pools were available.

The city is still determining whether it will restart its free swimming lessons.

Starting last weekend, New York City’s theaters, music venues and comedy clubs were allowed to reopen at limited capacity. For the first time since March 2020, Broadway lit up on Saturday evening for a 36-minute performance.

And more outdoor programming is to come across the five boroughs, including a concert by New York Philharmonic musicians that will kick off Lincoln Center’s outdoor programming.

“This is what a recovery for all means, to have our cultural life back,” Mr. de Blasio said.


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Credit...Julia Carmel/The New York Times

The Times’s Julia Carmel writes:

Every April, the New York Botanical Garden springs to life with cherry blossoms, magnolias and daffodils. But this year, it’s also welcoming a new 16-foot tall pumpkin, several polka-dot stainless steel flowers and some towering fiberglass tulips.

These works, which are clustered in 14 different locations around the garden’s 250 acres, are part of Yayoi Kusama’s new exhibit, “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature.” The project, which is opening to the public this Saturday and running through Oct. 31, has been in the works for years.

“I’m hoping that people will get to see Kusama and her work in a new light,” said Tori Lewis, the garden’s manager of interpretive content. “This is the first exhibition of Kusama’s work to focus specifically on her involvement with nature and with plants, which is really integral to her artistic practice since she was a very young child.”

Karen Daubmann, the garden’s vice president of exhibitions, said many of Kusama’s works were inspired by her upbringing on her family’s seed nursery and her bouts with mental illness.

“Some of her earliest hallucinations were about pumpkin’s coming to life and flowers coming to life,” Ms. Daubmann said. “She definitely sees the natural world in a way that a lot of us don’t see it,”

“You can see the thread of the natural world through all of her works from a very young age,” Ms. Daubmann added. “We’re honored; it’s a perfect fit for us here in the Bronx.”

While many of the works are scattered around the grounds — 1,400 stainless steel orbs float in the Native Plant Garden while a cartoonish, tentacled floral form hangs above the nearby visitor center reflecting pool — others, like Kusama’s “Starry Pumpkin,” are tucked indoors, glittering alongside various orchids and cactuses.

“By the direction of the studio, they wanted it obscured and we kind of couldn’t understand why they’d want to obscure the piece,” Christian Primeau, the manager of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, said of the space’s new pink-and-gold mosaic pumpkin. “But when the sun hits it, there’s something mysterious about it.”

And after years of preparation, Ms. Daubmann said she’s elated for people to see Kusama’s works come to life alongside the flora and fauna.

“I’ve run pumpkin events at the garden for 13 years,” Ms. Daubmann said, “but there’s something about putting her artwork in nature that just makes it shine.”

It’s Thursday — you look stellar.


Dear Diary:

When I commuted to New York from New Jersey many years ago, I would take a train and then a ferry that would drop me in Lower Manhattan, where I would walk up Liberty Street to the BMT subway. In good weather, it could be a pleasant trip.

On one particular occasion, I was rather pleased with the new outfit that I had put together to conform to the dress code of my new employer, Saks Fifth Avenue: a black turtleneck sweater topping a circular black felt skirt that I had made that weekend.

Late as usual, I caught the train just as it was about to leave the station. Whirling around the pole, I was grateful to find one of the last available seats.

As I settled in, I noticed a woman who was sitting across from me. At first, she smiled. Then she began to sort of giggle. Finally, I could see that she was stifling an outright laugh.

I looked to my right to see what was so amusing.

Sitting next to me was a well-dressed young gentleman. He was sitting somewhat stiffly and staring straight ahead in an almost frozen state.

Draped across his lap was nearly half of my circular black felt skirt.

— Lois Pauley