Got the COVID-19 Blues? Go online and ditch ’em!

Weeks after Gov. Cuomo invoked PAUSE, most of us are ready for some new sights and sounds.

By Suzanne Charlé


NYBG Cherry Walk

New York Botanical Gardens Cherry Walk, take a spring walk through the cherries.
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Luckily, New Yorkers are inventive, and though we can’t rush through the doors of our favorite museums and sit next to other patrons at the Philharmonic or a favorite jazz venue, we can still enjoy the arts, with some help from Silicon Valley. Even the city’s great gardens are on view, in all their spring glory.

Here are just some of NYC’s virtual delights. (You may have to RSVP for live events, especially those on Zoom—be sure to check beforehand.) Who knows, you might experience more in a week than you did before! In all cases, be generous and donate to the causes suggested.


Right now, you can take an online stroll through the New York Botanical Gardens, enjoying the crabapples, spring’s latest stars. If you missed earlier entrants spring delights, join their Journey Through Spring. There are also lessons: how to grow the best veggie garden, ways to capture botanicals in watercolor, and more.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden has posted a video of their cherry blossom festival, Sakura Matsui. Join the dancers and singers as they celebrate the eternal beauty.

New York City Audubon’s live cam of Barred Owls.
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On New York City Audubon’s website you’ll find a flock of birding events. Here, watch Cornell Lab’s live webcams of a barred owl and a red-tailed hawk in their nests, complete with newborns and stream the marvelous Bird Song Opera, a recomposed Mozart avian aria.

Want more birds? Visit the Bronx Zoo, where you can watch aquatic penguins and ducks feed every day at 12:30 and 3:30 each day on live cam. (You can catch the sea lions being fed earlier, at 11 and 3, and they perform!)

The Met presents ETHEL and Friends—at home—every Friday starting at 5 pm.
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All the city’s museums are shut during PAUSE, but they are determined that New Yorkers (and the rest of the world) won’t forget them.

The American Museum of Natural History, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers guided tours of their various halls and live watch parties several days a week. There are also videos that will take you literally out of the world, following the Apollo Mission landings or tracking meteors and meteorites (you’ll learn the difference). And of course, you can travel way back in time, via the museum’s prized dinosaurs.

Across Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also celebrating 150 years. There are videos of past exhibitions, curator talks, dance and music events; you can take tours of the museum’s many collections. And on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, there are live streaming events, including conversations with curators about specific works of art, exhibition previews. And, you can enjoy a glass of wine every Friday from 5 to 5:30 as the quartet ETHEL and Friends play—not at the Balcony Bar but at home.

Ephrat Asherie Dance

Working at home: Ephrat Asherie Dance performing UnderScored, their upcoming Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Photo by Robert Altman.
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The Guggenheim, meantime, continues to its not-to-be-missed Works & Process program, which is usually takes place in the Frank Lloyd Wright Building. Every Sunday and Monday at 7:30 pm, a new work is premiered—offering an intimate and in-depth view of exactly how dancers create commissions—now, at home via Zoom. Recently, the at-home audience got a behind-the-scenes look at Ephrat Asherie Dance working on their commission. Coming up: May 3—Michael R. Jackson; May 4—Nora Brown and Caleb Teicher. (In case you missed it live, parts of the dances are archived on the website.)

Also on Sunday nights: The Shed’s Up Close, a series of commissions exploring what it’s like to make art in these times. The first was The HawtPlates, a family trio. Sheltering in the Bronx and Indianapolis, the member join online to rework their songs. On May 3, Revelation of Proverbs, premiered—Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring dancers performing street dance from the confines of home.

Firelei Báez

Firelei Báez online at James Cohan until May 10th.
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Art galleries are still opening new exhibitions—in some cases you can even “walk” through the gallery. Some are even offering live artist talks and even concerts. Head to: James Cohan for videos of their most recent exhibition. Pace Gallery hosts weekly conversations with its artists. Lévy Gorvy current online art exhibition, Our Love Is Here to Stay features works drawn in March and April. Hauser+Wirth just made its debut of virtual reality world-wide this week. (All the galleries listed are donating a portion of the sales to various groups working to respond to COVID-19.)

Longing for music? Join the New York Philharmonic Plays On every Thursday at 7:30 via Facebook, when they post a video of a past performance (Leonard Bernstein was in the lineup!) The last two weeks of April, they celebrated Mahler’s New York, dropping works from the recent and distant past daily. In all NY Phil Plays On offers over 150 hours of concerts.

Opera lovers are in luck: The Metropolitan Opera offers a different opera, previously staged, every night at 7:30. The stream is available until 6:30 pm the next night.

Jazz devotees can head to Jazz at Lincoln Center, where Wynton Marsalis hosts conversations with jazz masters each week on Mondays at 9 pm on Skain’s Domain. The Zoom livestream musicians from around the world talking with Marsalis about specific types of jazz (for instance, the links between American ragtime and Brazil’s choro), playing not from high above Columbus Square site but from home. The smart insights and excellent performances add up to evenings that are as joyful as they are informative. (Even Marsalis learns something!) Other online programs include: Wednesdays with Wynton on Instagram Live, Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a great mix of previous performances, on Youtube (including the music of another New Yorker, Miles Davis) by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  On Dizzy’s Club facebook, @DizzysClub, on weekends and many week nights, jazz singers and musicians take over on Jazz at Home.

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Got some favorite online activities? Let us know—we’ll be adding more ideas in the future. Email our art director, Susan Huyser at
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Suzanne Charlé has written for numerous publications, including the Nation, House Beautiful, and The New York Times, where she was a freelance assigning editor for the magazine. She has co-authored many books including Indonesia in the Soeharto Years: Issues, Incidents and Illustrations.

You may enjoy other NYCitywoman articles by Suzanne Charlé: 

West Side Story, Its Past and Darker Present

Courtroom Artists’ Rogues Gallery

Up on the Roof

Apollo 11: Fifty Years After the Giant Leap

Just in Time: The Statue of Liberty Museum

The Bookshop Band: A British Institution

New York Splendor: Luxurious Rooms

Activist Artists Focus on Politics Past and Present

Real Estate—New York-Style

Breaking New Ground at the Met Opera

Two Artists’ Eyes on New York

An Eighty-Year-Old Gets a Dancing Dragon Tattoo

A New Yorker Abroad—in ’60s Germany

Mr. B

Balanchine!—In Book Form

Our Book Reviews are Back. Part 2: Nonfiction

Our Book Reviews are Back. Part 1: Fiction


The Life, Times, and Traumas of a Curlyhead

Confessions of an Absent Sister

Putting the Pandemic in Verse

Tár with Cate Blanchett: A Review

Leopoldstadt on Broadway: A Review

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