New York City’s homecoming concert has been dramatically halted half way through and revelers were told to leave Central Park immediately and seek shelter as Hurricane Henri barreled down on the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC officials had ignored a tropical storm watch for the Big Apple ahead of the concert, and planned to push ahead.
But just after 7:30pm, de Blasio came onstage to tell concertgoers to leave the ‘We Love NYC, The Homecoming Concert’ on the Great Lawn in Central Park, and seek shelter as thunderstorms started.
Barry Manilow was part way through singing ‘I Can’t Smile Without You’ when concertgoers were told to ‘quickly and calmly proceed to the nearest exit’.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: ‘We need everyone for brief period of time to move to some place safe because of thunder and lightening, and then we will bring the concert back.’
New York City is under a State of Emergency due to incoming Hurricane Henri.
A weather anchor for CNN revealed that city officials had previously said they would need to call off the concert if lightning struck anywhere within 10 miles of the show. Officials reportedly had no choice but to call it off after lightening struck in the Rockaways.
Manilow appeared on the network in a phone interview after his performance was cut short.
‘It’s such a shame,’ Manilow said. ‘They cut us off and threw us off the stage because they were afraid of lightning. It was getting very dangerous out there.’
He then sang I Made It Through the Rain over the phone while Anderson Cooper waved his arms.
New York City’s homecoming concert has been dramatically cancelled half way through and revelers were told to leave Central Park immediately and seek shelter as Hurricane Henri barreled down on the city
The massive crowd is seen during the concert before it was seemingly cancelled on Saturday because of the storm
Officials had ignored a tropical storm watch for the Big Apple and insisted that the homecoming concert would continue as planned
On Saturday a sea of unmasked New Yorkers packed Central Park to watch a star-studded line up of performers as Hurricane Henri is on the horizon.
On Saturday a sea of unmasked New Yorkers packed Central Park to watch a star-studded line up of performers as Hurricane Henri is on the horizon
People leave We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert as the event was seemingly canceled due to weather during in Central Park on Saturday
On Saturday a sea of unmasked New Yorkers packed Central Park to watch a star-studded line up of performers as Hurricane Henri was on the horizon.
Big name headliners including Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Hudson had entertained a crowd of up to 60,000 in Central Park.
Just before the concert was stopped, some people had posted on social media that they had been in line for three hours but still hadn’t been admitted to the park for the concert.
Also set to perform before the concert was abruptly halted were Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana, Jon Batiste, Kane Brown, LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Earth, Wind & Fire and others.
Organized by Brooklyn-born music mogul Clive Davis, the concert was meant to celebrate New York City’s reopening after the pandemic, despite rising COVID cases nationwide.
NYC’s largest concert since the pandemic began in early 2020, the free show was only open to attendees over the age of 12 who provide proof of vaccination, and won’t be required to wear masks.
Henri has sparked New York to declare a state of emergency as the Hamptons braced for a direct hit on Saturday. The storm is set to make landfall in Long Island or southern New England late Saturday or early Sunday at or near hurricane strength, with winds that could reach 80 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, left, and Carlos Santana, right, performed during We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert on Saturday
Andrea Bocelli performs onstage with the New York Philharmonic during We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert Saturday
Mayor Bill de Blasio mask up for Saturday’s We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert in Central Park
Chuck Schumer riles the crows up during Saturday’s We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert
Former President Bill Clinton was seen at a charity softball game in the Hamptons while others were pictured boarding up their in advance of the impending tropical storm – which is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.
President Joe Biden participated in a phone call with northeastern governors, as well as FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, to discuss Hurricane Henri’s anticipated landfall on Long Island and southern New England on Sunday.
According to a readout of the call, they discussed how governors are ‘working closely’ with FEMA and the National Guard to prepare to respond to impacts from the storm – including possible widespread power outages, coastal storm surges, and inland flooding.
Criswell said FEMA is positioning 700 response personnel and materials including meals, tarps, and generators, according to the readout.
‘Additionally, the President and other participants discussed the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the use of vaccines, masks, and social distancing if sheltering is required,’ according to the readout.
Earlier today de Blasio announced NYC is under a Tropical Storm Warning and to expect strong winds and rain to begin late Saturday through Sunday
In a briefing on Saturday afternoon, Cuomo warned that Hurricane Henri is ‘as serious as a heart attack’ and New York residents in parts of Long Island, particularly Fire Island, need to prepare to evacuate to higher ground as soon as possible.
‘We have short notice. We’re talking about tomorrow. If you have to move, if you have to stock up, if you have to get to higher ground it has to be today,’ Cuomo said.
He added that the storm is predicted to be as dangerous as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, ‘so, this is as serious as a heart attack’.
The State of Emergency is in place for Long Island, New York City, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and the Capital Region.
Cuomo said Henri is forecasted to make landfall 7am on Sunday with the eye of the storm passing over Long Island by 11am. The storm is expected to batter the state for 26 hours before it subsides around 2pm on Monday.
Henri is set to make landfall in Long Island or southern New England late Saturday or early Sunday at or near hurricane strength, with winds that could reach 80 mph
He added that there will be delays or cancellations to flights, and that passengers should check with their airlines to see if their travel plans were still on track. In Long Island, most train services will be suspended from midnight and the MTA is considering shutting down the Harlem line.
At least 500 National Guard troops will be deployed today, and the State Police will have 1,000 staff on duty.
Earlier on Saturday, de Blasio announced that New York City is under a Tropical Storm Warning and to expect strong winds and rain to begin late Saturday through Sunday.
‘Right now, from what we’re hearing, the real impacts are tomorrow but we want to start warning people now, we want you to make your plans the right way, to really minimize activity tomorrow to the maximum extent possible,’ de Blasio said during a Saturday press briefing.
‘Stay off the roads, stay indoors, there’s going to be heavy winds, a lot of rain, we could definitely be seeing some trees falling down, we need people to be safe so I’m telling you now so you can alter your plans, prepare your plans for tomorrow. Stay in, to the maximum extent possible.’
People were seen evacuating popular beach communities and making last-minute runs on batteries and gasoline as Hurricane Henri churned closer to Long Island and southern New England on Saturday. Officials pleaded with the millions of people in the storm’s path to brace themselves for torrential rain and storm surges.
Intense winds and potentially dangerous tidal surges were expected as far east as Cape Cod and as far west as the New Jersey shore, and utilities warned ensuing power outages could last a week or even more. Governors in the region urged people to stay home during the brunt of the storm.
Gov. Ned Lamont warned Connecticut residents they should prepare to ‘shelter in place’ from Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning as the state braces for the first possible direct hit from a hurricane in decades. In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee similarly urged state residents stay at home Sunday and into Monday morning.
‘We consider this a serious matter,’ McKee said at a news conference.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued for some residents closest to the water in Madison, Connecticut.
First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons wrote in a public notice, that any ‘residents who do not leave the evacuation zone by 9 p.m. tonight are putting their lives at risk and public safety crews will not be able to respond to you once winds exceed 50 mph.’
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker expressed relief Saturday that the latest models suggest Henri won’t make a direct hit on the state.
But Baker and McKee at separate briefings warned that high winds and heavy rains still could lead to widespread and lengthy power outages.
Officials said Logan International Airport in Boston was expected to remain open, but that some flights likely would be canceled. And service on some branches of New York City’s commuter rail system will be suspended Sunday.
Officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York cautioned that people could lose power for days. Authorities advised people to secure their boats, fuel up their vehicles and stock up on canned goods.
Henri was veering a bit further west than originally expected, placing eastern Long Island in its bull’s-eye rather than New England. That gave people directly in the storm’s path less time to prepare.
In the Hamptons, the celebrity playground on Long Island’s east end, officials warned of dangerous rip currents and flooding that’s likely to turn streets like the mansion-lined Dune Road into lagoons.
‘We have a lot of wealthy people. There’s no doubt that we do, but everybody pulls together in an emergency,’ Schneiderman said.
‘So, you know, yeah, there are people hanging out on their yachts at the moment drinking martinis, but they’re also starting to talk about this storm and I’m sure they’re going to want to be helpful.’
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town was considering issuing a voluntary evacuation advisory for about 6,000 people. He said storm models showed that the storm’s center would run ‘smack on the town of Southampton.’
He described a run on supplies like batteries and flashlights as people ‘are starting to wake up.’
Residents and visitors on Fire Island, a narrow strip of sandy villages barely above sea level off Long Island’s southern coast, were urged to evacuate. The last boats out will leave at 10:40 p.m. Saturday; after that, officials said, there may be no way out for people who decide to ride out the storm.
The evacuation threw a wrench into Kristen Pavese’s planned Fire Island bachelorette party. The group of 10 had intended to celebrate out on Saturday night, but ended up leaving on the ferry just a day after arriving. They had planned to stay until Monday.
‘I’m upset about it, but it’s the weather. It’s nothing I can control,’ said Pavese, a Long Island resident. ‘I’ve been going to Fire Island for a long time, so I’m sort of familiar with this happening.’
The group made alternate Saturday night plans at a Long Island winery, and Pavese said she was happy to still be with her friends.
New York hasn’t had a direct hit from a powerful cyclone since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in 2012. Some of the most important repairs from that storm have been completed, but many projects designed to protect against future storms remain unfinished.
With a top wind speed of 75 mph Saturday, Henri sped up to move north-northeast at 18 mph as of Saturday evening. It’s still about 335 miles south of Montauk Point on Long Island.
Storm surge between 3 and 5 feet is possible from Flushing, New York, to Chatham, Massachusetts, and for parts of the North Shore and South Shore of Long Island, the hurricane center said. Rainfall between 3 to 6 inches is expected Sunday through Monday.
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