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Open Culture

Tuesday’s Headlines: Open Culture is Here Edition

12:02 AM EST on March 2, 2021

Showtime. Graphic: The Rockwell Group

You heard the man. When he wasn't gloating about the political abyss into which Gov. Cuomo has fallen, Mayor de Blasio was touting his open culture program, which began taking applications yesterday (click here to apply — if, that is, you're a cultural organization; this program isn't for amateurs).

It's still a little unclear how this is all going to work: The city has set aside about 100 street segments as "Open Culture" zones — and arts groups can apply for the space, and even charge for tickets. But obviously passers-by will be able to gawk for free from the street. And it's unclear if the city will match up producers and/or venues with the open street segment closest to them. (Bedford+Bowery covered.)

Still, artists are excited. We spoke to Meghan Finn of The Tank, which is accepting submissions here, though the theater group isn't yet sure where its open culture street performances will be.

"It's going to be a magical summer," she said. "People are starving for live performances."

Of course, there are logistical concerns: The street segments in Manhattan will likely have lots of applications, given how many performance organizations are based in the theater capital of the world. "It may be like an Oklahoma land rush to get the space you want," Finn said.

And obviously small theater groups are anxious that Lincoln Center doesn't just book all the streets around its facility and that open culture doesn't have some of the inequitable elements of the open streets program.

"We can't just have performances in affluent neighborhoods," said Finn, who was extremely optimistic everything would be worked out.

"The people want it and they will seek it out," she said.

Meanwhile, a big hat tip goes out to the Rockwell Group and national treasure starchitect David Rockwell, who is working with TAIT and three venues to create an easy-to-set-up and easy-to-staff 50-seat street venue (amNY covered it, but we got the pics, too. Check them out in our slideshow below).

Other than that, it was a slow day unless you were on the Cuomo beat.

    • Not enough mainstream outlets covered Transportation Alternatives's big demand that mayoral candidates commit to clawing back 25 percent of all the space commandeered by cars. We covered it, of course, and Mark Hallum of amNY gave it a nice spin. Patch's coverage had a romantic photo. Gothamist also wrote it up.
    • Guse of the Newsuh savaged Andrew Yang for tweeting about riding a "Bronx-bound" A train, which is a physical impossibility. But let's not forget: Yang was on the subway, which is more than we can say for most candidates.
    • Mayor de Blasio turned the switch back on roughly 1,700 capital projects yesterday, but when we asked the Department of Transportation and City Hall for a list so we could inform our readers what to expect, all we heard was crickets. (NY Post, amNY)
    • A great reporter, Beth Fertig, had a nice deep dive on restaurant deliveries and what a screwed up system it is. (WNYC)
    • The also-great Jose Martinez did an interesting story for The City about New Yorkers who have given up the subway for good. We hope it's not true!
    • Just when Brad Lander thought it was safe to print up Comptroller's office stationery, Corey Johnson jumped into the race for the city's top bean counter. (NY Post)
    • Who ya gonna call?
    • Look, the MTA has avoided the fiscal cliff (thanks, Amtrak Joe), but some service cuts might be necessary because travel patterns are so different. (WSJ)
    • This is why we contribute to Gothamist every year — simply for subheds like this:
great gothamist subhed

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