'We love New York City' concert interrupted by Tropical Storm Henri
Despite the severe weather threat, the NYC reopening concert started normally until rains forced its cancellation.
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New York City prepared to celebrate the return of "normalcy" with the free “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” over the weekend in Central Park.
However, the city's reopening was interrupted by the arrival of Tropical Storm Henri and, ironically, an increase in COVID-19 infections. Despite the virus alert, concertgoers entered the concert vaccinated, but without masks or social distancing.
Despite NYC's celebration, cases have soared again to more than 1850 cases per day, a 19% increase in two weeks. The concert required attendees to be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the event, or present a negative COVID test performed less than 72 hours prior. Similarly, the use of a facemask was optional as the event was held outdoors.
The concert was expected to be attendedby some 60,000 people, and was to be broadcast live on CNN. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the event would be a "historic and monumental moment for all New Yorkers and all Americans. This is a celebration of our city, of every working family who faced incredible challenges last year and overcame," he said in a statement.
Organizers also considered the event safe as it would only last five hours. Unfortunately, three hours into the expected return to "normalcy," they were forced to end the event due to a thinderstorm brought by Tropical Storm Henri that could have endangered attendees. The audience was expecting to see performances by major artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith and Paul Simon, but not all the artists scheduled for the event were able to perform live.
The audience was treated to a moving performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who joined the orchestra; American artist Jennifer Hudson, who also accompanied the orchestra; Mexican-American Carlos Santana took the stage with Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean and rocker Rob Thomas; JP Saxe and Julia Michaels sang a duet of "If the world was ending;" Kane Brown; and the legendary rock band Journey, also performed before the end of the concert.