Lean turnout greets Philharmonic’s return
By Emma Penrod
After a two-year hiatus induced by budget cuts, the New York Philharmonic returned for a concert in Van Cortlandt Park last week, but the attendance wasn’t quite what concert-goers remember it used to be.
Many came early to stake out space near the stage for the 8 p.m. concert, but even after intermission choice spots near the stage were still available.
“People used to come at 4 in the afternoon to get a seat, so it seems very subdued,” Riverdale resident Nancy Donahue said just before the concert began. “I think it’s the heat, and I don’t think it was well advertised.”
Temperatures in the Bronx flirted with heat records on Tuesday, peaking at near 97 degrees at 6 p.m. Humidity pushed that figure higher, to nearly 99 degrees.
Additionally, many attendees, including Riverdale resident Julia Kilpatrick, were frustrated by the lack of information available prior to the concert.
“There are more signs up for Barefoot Dancing, and we didn’t get an e-mail, like usual,” said Ms. Kilpatrick, who subscribes to a Van Cortlandt Park listserv.
A change of date, which took place in early May and moved the Van Cortlandt concert from July 16 to July 17, may also have had an impact on attendance.
Whatever the case, the Philharmonic was pleased by those who did attend — more than 4,000 individuals, according to Eric Latzky, vice president of communications for the New York Philharmonic.
“Rainy conditions or extreme heat can have an impact on turnout — but the more than 4,000 adventurous people who attended this year in The Bronx were rewarded with a spectacular concert,” Mr. Latzky wrote in an e-mail. “We look forward to welcoming them — and thousands of other New Yorkers — to our free concerts in the five Boroughs again next summer.”
Despite the heat, those who came were glad to see the Philharmonic return to the Bronx.
“I love being able to enjoy the fireworks and the outdoors without having to travel thousands of miles,” Pedro Vega, a Van Cortlandt Village resident, said.