Bronx cultural hubs take necessary precautions amidst COVID-19

With almost an entire city on lockdown to mitigate the spreading of COVID-19, most major Bronx cultural institutes follow suit.

Just in the past week, the U.S. , New York State, and New York City officials have declared state of emergencies, deeming the opening of schools, restaurants, theaters, and gatherings over 50 people forbidden.

On March 15, The Executive Director of Communications for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Max Pulsinelli released a statement regarding closures of their partnered facilities throughout NYC.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society is temporarily closing the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium, effective Monday, March 16,” Pulsinelli said. “Our five parks will be closed and education and public programs will be cancelled until further notice.”
Another cultural hub for the Bronx is the New York Botanical Garden has also been temporarily closed effective March 15th, despite the upcoming Orchid Show and other scheduled events and group programs.
A statement on the NYBG’s webpage read:
“All events and programs, including The Orchid Show, remain suspended through March 31, and we may extend this timeframe if necessary.”
The Bronx Museum of the Arts closed its doors Friday, March 13 due to the growing concerns on COVID-19.
According to the statement on the Museum’s website, Interim Director Klaudio Rodriguez said there are no known cases of the coronavirus among the museum staff. Rodriguez also said in the statement, the museum staff will continue their efforts to deep-clean the facility during its time of closure.
Lehman College’s Center for Performing Arts is taking one of the biggest hits, according to the Executive Director Ana Bornstein.
“It’s not up to us,” Bornstein said. “The government ordered to have all theaters, restaurants and schools to be closed.”
Bornstein said the orders came down the chain of the command from the governor to CUNY’s chancellor to the school’s president.
BronxTimes spoke to Bornstein on Monday March 16 via a telephone call, to find Bornstein like most Lehman staff, working remotely.
Bornstein said the center has contacted producers and performers for upcoming shows and so far, performers have been understanding and happy to postpone and reschedule.
Bornstein also fears the virus ultimately forcing performing acts to cancel.
“If we end up cancelling performances, we’re going to lose money,” Bornstein said. “We’re trying to run a small business compared to something like Broadway.”
She also said all ticket holders have been contacted while constant updates are being posted via the center’s website.
“Life can go on without entertainment, but this virus is very serious and hopefully it will pass,” Bornstein said.
One Bronx staple, Wave Hill Gardens, is caught in the gray area, because at the moment, there are no guidelines for closures in full outdoor spaces.
A Wave Hill Gardens representative said there are to be no public events, but the grounds are open with free admission.

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