From mask-free clubs at full capacity to dance-in-your-chair affairs, Kiana Mickles reports on New York City's opening weekend.
First off, Kiana Mickles spends the weekend at venues across New York City to see how vaccination passports and temperature checks are getting the party restarted.
At nearly 10 PM on a quiet corner on Myrtle Avenue, a line had yet to form outside Bossa Nova Civic Club. At the door, I was asked to add my full name to a contact tracing list. Following this, I flashed my ID, had my temperature taken and was given ground rules for the night. All attendants were asked to remain masked indoors unless seated at a table and to not stand idly in the venue, except by the bar and in the newly introduced backyard area. Since the small Bushwick club reopened in early May, the venue has been broadcasting their in-person events with a livestream series, Bossa Radio, which has brought on Bossa regulars like Umfang, quest?onmarc, Escaflowne and more over the past month. That night, the series had enlisted a starry lineup: Physical Therapy and OSSX, all night long.
Nick Boyd, who has been hosting Bossa Radio since its inception in April, says the response to the events has been heartening. "Whenever people ask me how it's going, I have to say, I can't believe so many of the same people who I really love are showing up every week. That's community."
The intimate venue, mainly composed of a small, checkered dance floor, has been reformatted in notable ways since the pandemic. The cushioned booths that once offered a place of respite from dance floor activity were partitioned with plexiglass, seating laughing, maskless friends. Awash in blue lighting, Gen Zs and millenials dressed in casual wear sat alone at the bar, on their phones, waiting for drinks or talking shop with the bartender. Feet tapped and heads nodded, as an invigorating blend of East Coast club music, garage, R&B, and trap filled the room. Many who I spoke to were vaccinated and seemed to be comfortable with the safety risks of attending the event.
"I was working for the entire time during the pandemic, and in public places, so I was constantly around other people," Ellie Botoman, 24, said laughing. "I think that was more of a concern for me than coming here. A lot of the same people come here all the time, so I know who I'm around to a certain degree."