W42ST Daily — 9/4/2020

My first visit to MoMA was for a Matisse exhibition, I remember. The artist’s mammoth The Swimming Pool piece, which hadn’t been seen in public for more than 20 years, formed the centerpiece, newly conserved. Towards the end of the run, the gallery was open round the clock. 

We made our reservation for midnight, thinking it would be kind of romantic – and super quiet. Like that episode of Sex and the City, when Carrie meets the Russian at a gallery, where a performance artist – an homage to Marina Abramovich at Sean Kelly Gallery – lives on a series of platforms for 16 days.

Carrie’s critique went something like this: “There are depressed women all over the city doing the exact same thing as her and not calling it art. Put a phone up on that platform and it’s just a typical Friday night waiting for some guy to call.”

Anyway, we were wrong. It was neither romantic nor quiet. It might as have well have been a rainy Sunday afternoon, the crowds elbowing each other around each exquisite artwork; a crazy New York moment almost clubby in its vibe. 

This week, as galleries opened for the first time since March – another tentative sign the city is awakening from its induced coma – I got the experience I’d hoped for. The six floors of MoMA were blissfully, almost eerily quiet. The Whitney was only fractionally busier, but no less peaceful. It was healing; the art feeding a part of my soul I hadn’t even realized was hungry.

New York’s museums and galleries are operating at 25 per cent capacity, with ticketed, timed entry, and masks are mandatory at all times. Here’s everything you need to know to make your next New York moment.

New York Sports Clubs have used the reopening of gyms to get their charging machine back in action. 

It became infamous during the pandemic when it was sued for charging membership fees, even after their gyms, including the one at Worldwide Plaza, were closed in March. New York Attorney General Letitia James stepped in then and the company agreed to stop charging members and to be flexible on cancellation fees. But members have started to get charges on their credit cards again. Read the full story.

God knows we all need a good news story about now. So here’s one. My friend Tania acquired a cat, orphaned when its owner got stuck in Israel as COVID closed the world’s borders. But her circumstances meant she couldn’t keep Zoey permanently, so I called out for a new owner in this very newsletter. A kind of kitty dating service.

Fred got in touch. “Is this sweet baby still available?”

She wasn’t. But bear with me, OK? Because her potential new owner backed out at the last minute, and a match was made.

Fred emailed the other day. “Just to give you an update on Zoey,” he wrote. “She moved in with me about a month and a half ago and we are in love! Tangible evidence that communication, community, and W42ST are necessary for a loving and compassionate society.”

I don’t know about you, but that gives me the warm fuzzies, right there. Love wins, friends.


While the hotly anticipated release of In The Heights will wait until theaters can reopen, you can watch this documentary about the making of the multi-Tony Award-winning musical on Broadway. The link expires tonight.

To Mark Hispanic Heritage Month, The Mixed Space meets virtually to discuss whether the term “Hispanic” serves its community, and how terminology impacts the way folx identify. Sign up here.

It’s a beautiful weekend, friends. Get outside and enjoy it. Drink margaritas on the beach. You don’t need to get up for work tomorrow.

It’s Labor Day, and birding tours at Bryant Park begin again. Get all the info here.

Start your day with tai chi by the fountain.

Sign up for a free, socially distanced, 15-person workout in Central Park.

The Town Hall celebrates the legacy of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, artists and activists, in A Century of Story and Song. Watch it here.

Go inside the rehearsal Zoom, as Jessica Frances Dukes and Heather Alicia Simms break down the acting process and reflect on Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark! This live event will be a closed affinity space for Black-identifying artists and audience members. Find out more. 

The American Museum of Natural History reopens.

Bethann Hardison, Naomi Campbell, and Iman talk about their personal journeys, racial diversity in fashion, and their hopes for the future in this virtual salon for The Met. Watch it here.

W42ST is back on the streets! We’re publishing a fold-out map featuring the Hot 100 – the best bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and stores in Hell’s Kitchen. Look out for it in all your favorite places, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates.

Learn ribbon dancing? Why not?

Robert Galinsky is joined by Grand Master Jay, the founder of the NFAC (Not F*cking Around Coalition), a paramilitary organization that has been described as a Black militia, in conversation.