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NYC’s new Open Culture program kicks off this weekend with live outdoor performances

Over 100 of the city’s streets can now host outdoor cultural events

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

NYC’s streets are open for culture.

Following on the success of last year’s Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs, a new citywide program is gearing up to bring arts and culture to the five boroughs’ streets. Similar to those (very lovely!) programs which allowed for pedestrians to enjoy streets while they were shut down to cars and dine in the middle of thoroughfares, the new Open Culture program will allow for ticketed, socially distanced performances, workshops and classes in the streets. 

The program, which kicks off this weekend, will run through October 31. “Open Culture is a new permit type available from the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office allowing for ticketed performances,” says the official Open Culture website. “Arts and cultural institutions, as well as entertainment venues, will have the opportunity to secure a permit for socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs.” (Those interested in applying can find more information here.)

An interactive map, also found on the official city website, shows all of the spaces around the city that can be used for the live events. Over 150 events have already been approved to take place in the city. Later today, the St. George Theatre Restoration will be presenting a special performance by Bobby Wilson at 35 Hyatt St. on Staten Island from 5:15pm-6pm. Earlier today, the arts group Leimay mounted a live performance on North 6th Street in Williamsburg and the El Museo del Barrio hosted a celebration at 104th Street and Fifth Avenue to kick off the summer-long program.

To stay on top of upcoming events through the program, you can check out the official NYC event permit site. You can also reference this list of the 100+ eligible streets in the city, to find the brand-new outdoor arts hub closest to you.

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