New Yorkers in self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic are opening up their windows and taking to their roofs and fire escapes to spread some cheer by both starting up singalongs and poking fun at those who start them.
Comedian Trevor Noah led the charge on Tuesday when he attempted to strike up a sing-song from his balcony, which was quickly hit down by some classic New Yorker charm.
Others shared videos as they joined neighbors they had never seen before in a The Beatles medley while in Brooklyn, a ‘Singalone’ was established including hits such as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.
The neighbors on the Upper West Side have never spoken but now sing together each evening
Comedian Trevor Noah didn’t have much luck when he tried sing on a balcony like the Italians
After heartwarming videos emerged from a locked down Italy of neighbors and communities lifting their spirits by joining each other on their balconies to sing, TV host Trevor Noah reckoned that New York needed a dose of the same optimism.
Yet he rightly knows that the Big Apple was likely to take a more cynical attitude than the Italians if someone breaks into song and disturbs the peace.
In a skit posted to Twitter, he showed exactly what would happen if most people tried this in New York.
‘Why don’t we do this in New York,’ he said from a balcony, looking out on the city and adding that we need to ‘be together’.
He launches into the Aladdin classic ‘A Whole New World’ but only lasts a number of bars before he’s cut off in a typical New York fashion with a ‘Shut the f**k up’ from another man.
Noah ended the skit sheepishly walking away, looking dejected that his attempt to raise spirits with song had gone so terribly.
‘Nothing can break the human spirit,’ he wrote on posting the video to Twitter.
Except that guy. That kinda hurt. Will try again tomorrow.’
Other New Yorkers didn’t fare much better with some singing to empty streets with nobody wanting to sing along.
‘No one joined in…..’ said Twitter user Ryan Bloomquist after launching into a show tune while hanging out his window into an empty street.
This was definitely a sing-a-lone! Nobody joined in this man’s attempt at a sing-song
Social media users also poked fun at the cynical New Yorker stereotype, claiming that you would just never see the same scenes of solidarity singing as you did in Italy.
‘I can’t wait for the first video from New York of someone with a beautiful voice singing out a window. And then someone with a heavy NY accent yelling for them to shut the f**k up,’ one Twitter user wrote.
Yet optimism remained that it could yet happen with another writing: ‘Umm New York?! Why haven’t y’all responded to the singing on the Balconies in Italy. I know y’all can do better on them fire escapes.’
‘OK, standing here patiently waiting for a Metropolitan Opera star to step out on one of these balconies and start singing ‘Nessun Dorma.’ Come on New York!’ added another.
Singsong lovers managed to have better luck on the Upper West Side in Manhattan where one woman shared a beautiful video of her and her neighbors gathered by their windows to sing through a medley of hits including The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Hey Jude’.
‘I’ve never even seen these neighbor’s lights on before…and now we’re having sing-a-longs every night at 7pm,’ she said.
‘Maybe the earth and the people did need some healing,’ one person replied on Twitter on learning that the neighbors had never previously interacted with each other.
Brooklynite Russ Agdern also managed to rally the troops as he took his saxophone out onto the balcony of his apartment complex and struck up Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’.
In a show of solidarity, his neighbors also emerged from their homes with a couple on a balcony below him slow dancing to the music.
While not on a balcony or fire escape, safe social distancing was still maintained by members of the New York State Teachers Union who sang ‘Lean On Me’ while ensuring that the other person did anything but get close enough to lean on.
‘New hit single, “Lean On Me, But Only Metaphorically To Practice Safe Social Distancing.” Our remote workplaces are now in effect so rest assured we’re still working hard for you. Stay safe and be well,’ the union wrote.
In Brooklyn, several people attempted to get a mass singalong started on Thursday night but many posted to say they couldn’t hear anything and felt like they were singing on their own.
The ‘Brownstone Brooklyn COVID-19 Singalone (Singalong)’ put together a pandemic playlist so others could join in including essentials such as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’.
‘Our wonderful neighbors on Sterling Place, btw 5th/6th Ave organized a 6pm singalong! It was great. Def will do again,’ one person posted.
Others looking for singers said: ‘Singing by myself at Pacific between Bedford and Franklin! Anyone nearby?’
‘Just sang Que Sera Sera top of my voice on Nevins bet Dean & Bergen. Where y’all?’ one woman asked.
Another said: ‘I sang two songs (off-key) on my fire escape. I was the only one on my block… but still worth it.’
‘We didn’t hear it in Carroll gardens! I will set up one for over here!’ said another disappointed singer.
‘It’s quiet here,’ one person complained.
One person didn’t seem to want to stay in their home to make it happen and went out looking for the singers, saying: ‘Biking around looking for singing. Can some singers report in? I left RedHook, now on Union at Hoyt. The sound of the birds is nice… the city seems quiet and they more apparent.’
Another attempt has now been set up for the Carol Gardens area on Friday night.
A special Sinatra singalong is also being hosted by Facebook page GirlMeetsStrength on Friday, calling on New Yorkers to get out to sing some ‘New York New York’ at 8pm.
‘We may be physically distancing ourselves but let out voices unite,’ they said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that his city was now the ‘epicenter’ of the coronavirus outbreak in the US with more than 4,000 confirmed cases and 26 deaths as he pleaded with the federal government to give him help before hospitals become overwhelmed.
In an impassioned plea to President Trump on CNN, de Blasio said New York’s hospitals would run out of ventilators and surgical masks in two or three weeks.
He said he was considering turning hotels and the Javits Center, a sprawling expo-center in Hell’s Kitchen, into hospital ‘annexes’ but that the city desperately needed more supplies.
There are now more than 14,000 cases of coronavirus in the US and more than 200 people have died.