This Memorial Day weekend in New York City will be truly unique to our city’s experience, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For most New Yorkers, this celebration of Memorial Day will be very intimate and isolated compared to previous years. It helps to remember that we’re doing this to protect each other from a potentially deadly illness, but the fact that life isn’t yet back to normal hurts nonetheless.
And while this year is different, what with NYC beaches being closed among other changes, there are still some fun ways to chill out and enjoy your long weekend, from ordering some of NYC’s best burgers to picnicking at some of the city’s best kept secret spots or joining in a weekend-long adult summer camp online.
Go To Virtual Summer Camp For Adults
Camp Yampire, the virtual adult summer camp, is back with painting, juggling, baking, video games, workouts and yoga to mask making, live music, happy hours, and self-care sessions beginning on Saturday. Campers will join together the following Monday for an online energy-filled glow dance party. This week’s summer camp will include how to make a colorful Jolly Rancher vodka drink, a virtual tour of The Frick and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, a collage workshop, a sports scavenger hunt, tissue paper “stained glass” and bubble paint workshops, a virtual tiptoe through the tulips of the Netherlands, a Zoom murder mystery, a studio session from the Axions and music on Memorial Day, among many other events. Camp Yampire is free!
Watch a Metropolitan Opera Online
As the Metropolitan Opera reaches the end of its planned 2019-2020 season, it continues to provide succor for opera fans at home with its eighth week of free streamed performances every night, drawn from the archives of its popular series Live in HD. The Met lineup for May 4 through May 10 includes classics by Mozart, Puccini, and Richard Strauss. The operas go live each night on the Met’s website at 7:30 pm EDT; you can also see them through the Met Opera on Demand app on various devices. Each video remains viewable for 23 hours, until 6:30 pm EDT the following day.
Head to a Retro Drive-in Movie Theater
Drive-in movie theaters may seem to belong to a different era, but the new normal of social distancing is bringing them back into the spotlight. But while drive-ins across the country are regaining buzz, most of them are located on the outer fringes of suburbia or in rural areas. Now, New Yorkers can get in on the retro entertainment. One Astoria-based restaurant that’s been around since 1965, Bel Aire Diner, is now putting on drive-in movie nights in their sizable parking lot, bringing the trend straight into the concrete jungle.
Go (virtually) to a New York Nightclub
Dancing is a huge part of NYC nightlife. So it’s no surprise that a lot of New Yorkers are missing the feeling of hearing a thumping baseline on a Saturday night and bobbing with a crowd of fellow dancers.
Luckily, even with the city’s die-hard partiers staying-at-home, New York is still the city that never sleeps.
Here are a few virtual clubs where you can dance away some of that pent-up, stuck-inside energy.
This Prospect Heights-based vinyl record beer bar was inspired by popular Japanese vinyl record bars. Now, it’s keeping things spinning from home for vinyl purists. When Bierwax is physically open, they usually have a rotation of resident DJs play long sets onsite. “Beer and wax (vinyl) has been the dual themes, both of which are longtime passions of mine,” says Bierwax head honcho Chris Maestro. “Having DJs spin at BierWax has been an extension of that theme, and highlights artists who respect the culture of vinyl records and keep it alive.”
You can tune in for smooth sessions on the Brooklyn bar’s Instagram live and can help the DJs stay afloat by donating to their virtual tip jars (via Venmo, PayPal, or CashApp) mid-set.
Williamsburg music-venue-meets-dance-club Baby’s All Right has launched Baby TV, a streaming platform that hosts live performances from artists in their bedrooms “or another space of their choosing” straight to your screen. Fans can message artists in real-time to interact and request tunes they want to rock out to. Ticket holders are emailed a secret link to the show 30 minutes before “doors,” and ticket proceeds are shared between the artist, Baby’s All Right staff, and a charity.
House of Yes
This theatrical nightclub and creative collective based in Bushwick is embracing the challenge of moving from IRL to URL, with digital dance parties every Saturday night (called “Cyber Saturday”) and Sunday afternoons. On weekdays, they keep the party going while hosting digital programs like burlesque, dance classes, deep house yoga, drag shows, and more. Just like their in-person weekend parties, where costumes are always encouraged, they’re encouraging themed looks in the digital realm.
Now about the beach situation…
- New York state will reopen its beaches, including local beaches and lakeshores, for Memorial Day weekend in coordination with New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
- Cuomo said the beaches will be limited to 50% capacity, concession stands will be closed and contact activities, including sports, are prohibited.
- He said local governments that own waterfronts will have the authority to decide whether to follow the order.
New York state will reopen its beaches, including local beaches and lakeshores, for Memorial Day weekend in coordination with New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Cuomo said the beaches will be limited to 50% capacity. Concession stands will be closed and contact activities, including sports, such as volleyball, are prohibited. Public pools will remain closed, he said.
Beachgoers will need to wear masks when they can’t remain 6 feet apart from other people, he said.
Memorial Day is a special holiday that you can still enjoy at home.
But don’t forget the most important thing about this special holiday – to remember and honor our soldiers and all that they’ve done for us.
Have a happy Memorial Day!