The New York Philharmonic has been without a summer home for awhile now. They muster residencies during the off season at city parks, Avery Fisher Hall and some shows in… Colorado. But they may have finally found their orchestral equivalent to the Hamptons: Governor’s Island. They’ll be playing a free concert there, with the Manhattan skyline splayed out before them, on July 5. “We’ve talked about it as a place we should play because it is so pretty,” said Zarin Mehta, the Philharmonic’s president and a former director of the Ravinia Festival., to the New York Times. “If the conditions were right, it’s the kind of place we should look at very seriously.” But, not so fast!
[He] said any permanent residency at the island was a long way off. “They’ve got lots of things to do there,” he added. “I don’t know who’s going to pay for that, plus the fact the transportation has to be resolved.”
One of the concerns over concerts on the island has been how to get audiences on and off quickly. Ms. Koch [the president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation] said the largest audience for a concert on the island so far numbered 3,000 for a performance by Richie Havens in July. She said it took an hour to take all the people off by ferry. But a Philharmonic concert could bring three times as many audience members.
The main ferry used for the island leaves the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. It can carry 497 passengers and takes no more than seven minutes to make the trip, Ms. Koch said. She said that ferry companies would be hired to ensure smooth transport for the concert, and that other piers around the harbor could be used.
The July 5 concert will start at 6:30 p.m. to take advantage of daylight, because there is no electric lighting. Bramwell Tovey, who leads the Summertime Classics, will conduct. The program will consist of Four Dance Episodes from “Rodeo” by Copland, Rossini’s Overture to “The Italian Girl in Algiers,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol” and the appropriately militaristic “1812” Overture by Tchaikovsky, a parks concert favorite.
A fireworks display will also be a part of the concert.