Before the epidemic, which closed all the places where people gathered, on a Saturday night in New York you were spoiled for choice. I try to make a quick list of possibilities divided by categories, without the slightest illusion that I cover everything. And anyway speaking only of Manhattan, but also the other districts, which I do not mention here, have their show points.
- Broadway, 41 theaters with more than 500 seats, grouped around Times Sqare and 42 street, a square prennially crowded with tourists and vendors of everything, street vendors and stable, open all night. Today deserted, all closed.
- Off Broadway, 62 theaters with more than 100 but less than 500 seats. Scattered all over the place, but mostly concentrated in the southern part of Manhattan, commonly called “downtown”.
- Off-off Broadway, 24 theaters with less than 100 seats, scattered throughout the city, but also mostly downtown
26 rooms of all sizes, with one or more screens, scattered throughout the city. Unless you had a very successful film that stayed in the same room for months, you usually changed the title every Friday, and reviews of the new films came out in the newspapers on Friday. They still come out today, but the movies go straight to TV.
- OPERA: The Metropolitan Opera House, which majestically overlooks the large square of Lincoln Center, was open from early September to the end of May and staged at least 25 different productions every year, with a production effort probably unique in the world. This year he closed the season immediately after Christmas, plans, if all goes well, to reopen on December 31st. Other opera companies dedicated to minor works were born and died, represented in non-traditional places. They too closed
- CLASSICAL MUSIC: Also at Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall hosted classical music concerts throughout the year, including a summer season in New York's five main parks. Before the epidemic there was talk of renovating it to improve its acoustics. And Carnegie Hall, classical music with many foreign orchestras, but also some light music evenings. Many years ago, Renzo Arbore performed here with his orchestra.
There were countless places where singers and / or orchestras performed, concentrated in Downtown Manhattan but also present in the other districts: jazz, pop, rock-and-roll, country. All closed too, but with news in the newspapers of what the artists do.
RESTAURANTS, PIZZERIAS, BREWERIES, BARS
More than countless, scattered everywhere, the true heart of New York's social life and especially of Saturday life. They can only be used by delivering the goods outside the premises.
Well, dear readers, I stop here, at this panorama of "what it was". Next Saturday - I promise - I will tell you what people are doing on Saturday night now and how the institutions named above try to keep in touch with the public.