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The resilience of New York and its immigrants


How do you celebrate New York’s resilience? With a huge street festival in front of course! Men, women and children watch live shows in the street, eat ice cream and share the joy of human contact. Street festivals have always been a way of life and a part of the city’s culture, but the pandemic has transformed this bustling city into a sad and empty city, with closed shops and closed restaurants.

Yet New York City – always fiery, always stubborn, has always persisted and eventually you see it bounce back, reclaiming its past as the center of the world. Not quite there yet – but definitely trying. Museums, theaters, art galleries, shops all wake up from a long sleep because vaccination turns out to be the magic solution.

COVID-19 vaccines are protecting New Yorkers from infection and disease, according to New York government data, as since mid-January, the vast majority of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in New York York occur in unvaccinated people. Between January 17 and August 17, unvaccinated people in New York City accounted for 96.1% of all COVID-19 cases, 96.9% of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 97.3% of COVID-19 deaths. As more people begin to receive booster shots and children are also vaccinated, the possibility of returning to a more normal life seems more and more possible.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted the MetFest, a celebration honoring the resilience of New York City and the importance of art and community. socialize and meet family and friends. There was music, dancing and food with performers, puppets, gallery discussions as well as hands-on activities for the community.

Heidi Holder, President of Education at the Met, called it the Met’s love letter to New Yorkers and said, “The MetFest channels the energy and excitement of a block party, bringing together different generations, interests, cultures and talents.

As COVID-19 continues to ransom many parts of the world, some cities are starting to open up and New York is just one of them. I went to my first Broadway show, “Lockawanna Blues” in a newly bustling Times Square – and had to wait in line for my vaccination card to be verified – and everyone had to be covered up throughout. spectacle. It’s a small price to pay to ensure protection and good mental health by being able to return to a somewhat normal lifestyle. Still, incidents do occur – the hit show ‘Aladdin’ had to close shortly after opening because some vaccinated cast members tested positive for COVID 19. It has since reopened.

Indeed, the post-Covid world is all about reinvention and even art galleries do their best to attract customers who may be paranoid about old-fashioned gallery displays in interior spaces. Gone are the crowded wine nights where people came more to socialize and be seen. Recently, ARTnews and the Madison Avenue Galleries hosted the Madison Avenue Gallery Walk – a free event that encouraged the public to visit participating galleries and attend their talks. Three Indian art galleries were among the dozens of American galleries: the DAG, the Kapoor Gallery and the Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

The resilience of New York and its immigrants Sundaram Tagore Gallery -Karen KnorrFlight to Freedom, Durbar Hall, Dungarpur, 2010

The Wonder of India at DAG Gallery in New York showcased Modernism in India with wonderful artists like MF Husain and Jamini Roy, with a range of styles ranging from corporate paintings to the Bengal school to abstract movement. The Kapoor Gallery showcased beautiful miniature paintings and antiques from India, Nepal, Tibet and Southeast Asia with an exhibition titled Incarnations of Devotion. Also on Madison Avenue is the Uptown Sundaram Tagore Gallery which featured Home and the World with works by famous photographers Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry and Karen Knorr. Many of these beautiful images capture the spirit of India and Asia. With the opening of the art scene in this new New York City, Sundaram Tagore is also opening a brand new, larger gallery in Chelsea to replace its second gallery there.

The spirit of resilience and optimism permeates all walks of New York. After two years of a relentless pandemic, many nonprofits were unsure whether to return to fundraising galas or keep them virtual. Funding was badly needed, so Children’s Hope India, a New York nonprofit that has several education projects in India (and I’m involved with), decided to reinvent itself by hosting a fundraising cocktail party. much smaller live fund that encouraged donors to come out, properly masked, socially distanced, and vaccinated.

The evening celebrated three new emerging entrepreneurs – the rising stars – who will impact the business and nonprofit world in the future – Pooja Midha, Director of Growth at Comcast Advertising, Rohan Mirchandani, co-founder and CEO of Epigamia and Adi Chugh, Founder and Chairman, Surya Capital Partners. The event also honored Prakash Melwani, Global Director of Investments at Blackstone for his support to CHI during the COVID crisis. The evening raised funds for education and COVID relief and proved that the world can get back to normal – with caution and creativity.

The resilience of New York and its immigrants Prakash Melwani from Blackstone and Adi Chugh from Surya Partners at the CHI Rising Stars event with guests.

Learning to live in a world of COVID is always a challenge and the mask has become another human limb even after people have been vaccinated, many with the booster as well. While restaurants are at different stages – some closed, some open, others are busy reinventing themselves to adapt to this new world. Hiring staff is also a challenge, as many essential workers reconsider the value of low-paying jobs and the inability to find child care.

New York has achieved an almost European look with so many newly created outdoor dining spaces. Many restaurants now have outdoor cafe additions, but also operate their indoor facilities. Having proof of vaccination is a must and it is an important document to enter the newly opened world of theaters, bars and restaurants.

New Yorkers are of course hungry for a change in lifestyle and most restaurants line up at dinner time and it is difficult to get a reservation. Roni Mazumdar, who owns the popular Adda and Dhamaka with chef Chintan Pandya, is also set to reinvent himself. They closed their restaurant Rahi and turned to a brand new innovative South Indian restaurant, Semma, partnering with chef Vijay Kumar with a bold approach to cooking that has rarely been seen in New York City.

The resilience of New York and its immigrants Chintan Pandya, Chef Vijay Kumar and Roni Mazumdar from Semma

Another new restaurant that Pandya and Mazumdar have whipped up to cater for the present moment is Rowdy Rooster which will be opening next month – featuring everyone’s favorite ingredient – fried chicken – served in different take-out ways in a small space. It responds to the present moment with its ability to respond to take-out customers with a fun new one-ingredient multi-menu.

Ask Mazumdar, a diehard entrepreneur, if New York is bouncing back, and he says, “I don’t think New York is really gone. We just took a break, even when things were really tough, really exhausting for us as an industry. This spirit has always been with us and I think it just continues – we are now at a point where we feel a new form of inspiration, we see the power of the city, we see the potential of the city and the ‘excitation. I don’t think there’s a better city in America where you can create new concepts, and that’s what we’re doing right now.

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