New York's ‘homecoming’ concert called off as hurricane nears

Published : 22 Aug 2021 08:43 PM

New York City shut down on Saturday its star-studded concert meant to mark its "homecoming" in the wake of the pandemics worst devastation, over the threat of severe weather as Hurricane Henri churned closer.

Barry Manilow, who was on a line-up that included Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and Paul Simon, was cut off mid-song by a booming voice urging concert goers to proceed swiftly but calmly to the nearest exit due to approaching storm clouds.

"I was so disappointed," Manilow told CNN after his set was cut short. "This was a wonderful, wonderful experience up until the rain hit. We were so excited to do this."

Some 60,000 people were expected at the concert in Central Park, as the hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds near 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour and heavy rains, was drawing closer to making landfall sometime on Sunday. Sporadic lightning and thunder rolled in over the park as people streamed out of the grounds, with some taking shelter under scaffolding and building entryways.

"I guess for safety it makes sense. I mean I can hear the thunder," said attendee Maria Fuentes.    —BSS