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Art and cultural programs return to Downtown Manhattan in a big way

David Greenspan performing musical delights in his show One Night Stand with Downtown Live on May 16.
Photo by Dean Moses

In anticipation of the May 19 statewide opening, the Downtown Alliance got the party started early.

The Lower Manhattan group launched the first of two weekends of outdoor entertainment as an open invitation to plan a trip to Lower Manhattan where visitors can dine, shop, and, most importantly of all, have a good time.

Driving life back into the Lower Manhattan area — particularly in the Battery and South Street Seaport vicinity—is an endeavor the Downtown Alliance has strived to achieve since before the pandemic.

However, the COVID-19 onslaught caused a blitz of shuttered businesses, and the sidewalks along Pearl, Water, and Broad Streets have been nearly barren for more than a year.

Thanks to the vaccine rollout and the unwavering determination of the Downtown Alliance, the southernmost part of the city was once again bustling with life over the weekend.

Attendees, both adults and children, were enraptured by David Greenspan and Jaime Lawrence’s performance. Photo by Dean Moses

“New York City has a long history of being the cultural epicenter of live theater, music and the performing arts. It’s embedded in our DNA and an essential component of what makes our city tick,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, in a press release. “Our festival, Downtown Live, will be an exciting and safe way to help bring live performances back to Lower Manhattan and a great signal of what lies ahead.”

As the warmer weather invites individuals to enjoy the splendors of outdoor dining, museums, and other shops, Downtown Alliance developed Downtown Live to exhibit over 30 artists in largely outdoor and well-ventilated venues throughout Lower Manhattan, including a loading dock at 4 New York Plaza, an arcade along the Stone Street Historic District at 85 Broad St., and a harbor view at 1 Battery Park Plaza.

“It’s so great to see you all together! It’s been too long,” David Greenspan said, greeting audience members before singing Broadway-themed musicals, such as Mae West’s “My Man.”

David Greenspan’s booming voice echoed along the corridors of 85 Broad Street. Photo by Dean Moses
Greenspan had people laughing and listening. Photo by Dean Moses

Sunday’s line up featured a spectacular theatrical performance by David Greenspan with Jamie Lawrence on piano. Greenspan who belted out renditions of “Ordinary Woman” and “Deep Blue Sea” much to the delight of spectators.

While those seated at 85 Broad St. lapped up the show tunes, outside diners and passersby couldn’t help but also stop and marvel at the entertainment.

Confessing to lip-syncing to Barbra Streisand as a child, Greenspan not only enraptured the audience with his singing, but he also sent them into fits of hysterical laughter as he shared his personal introduction to Broadway.

However, the performances at Downtown Live aren’t all musicals, visitors were also treated to live plays. Kaaron Briscoe and Meghan Finn: Lost and Found, a short and witty presentation showcasing a woman’s struggle to make amends for cheating on her boyfriend by finding the lost memory of when they first met.

Searching through a trove a knickknacks and found-items, actresses Morgan McGuire and Ana Semedo uncover exactly what makes New York City great and the importance of cherishing our beloved memories as much as each other.  

Morgan McGuire and Ana Semedo starred in Lost and Found. Photo by Dean Moses

Downtown Live is not the only venture attracting individuals through the arts, the Tribeca Film Festival is back and is naming The Battery as one if it main sites. While Broadway is still set to open in the fall, Downtown Alliance wants to fill the artistic void for entertainment seekers and theatergoers.

Ana Semedo played a quirky proprietor of lost memories. Photo by Dean Moses

If you are interested in learning more about Downtown Live’s free performances—the events are ticketed to help maintain social distancing—visit www.engardearts.org/downtown-live/

As theatergoers await the grand reopening of Broadway this fall, Downtown Live offered an artistic alternative for the spring. Photo by Dean Moses

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