NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There has been a major step on the road to reopening, allowing people to go for a night on the town.
Entertainment venues opened Friday to live performances, with restrictions, CBS2’s Cory James reported.
Brooklyn native Jerry Seinfeld drove himself to Chelsea, where he walked into Gotham Comedy Club and was first on stage.
“It felt like getting electrocuted in a good way,” Seinfeld said. “In the moment of a laugh you forget every problem you’ve ever had.”
FLASHBACK: Sen. Schumer, Seinfeld Combine Forces, Call On Feds To Help Save City Entertainment Venues Hurt By COVID-19
The entertainment venue opened its doors after being closed for more than a year.
Inside, tables were spaced six feet apart and plastic sheets were installed to separate performers from the audience.
It was certainly a different look, but it did not stop people from feeling the same.
“I’ve seen jerry here before. He showed up as a surprise guest, so it was kind of nice,” one person said.
“And he had new jokes, which were amazing as expected. He’s still as funny as ever,” added Peter Arroyo of Brooklyn.
Owner Christopher Mazzilli said getting clearance from the state to reopen at 33% capacity was a huge win.
“A few months ago I thought it would be like a another six or seven months. So, the fact that we’re open now, [I’m] really, really excited about it, as is my staff,” Mazzilli said.
And the staff at Stand Up NY on the Upper West Side was prepared for the big night, too.
“It has been 13 months since we’ve actually opened up our doors, so it became a matter of are we compliant with CDC guidelines, with the opening procedures, as well as what hasn’t been used in a long time. We had some squeaky faucets,” Stand Up NY chief of staff Jon Borromeo said.
Workers like Gregory Judge said they were thankful to be back.
“I’ll be here four days a week. It should be a lot more money, so I won’t have to tap into my savings,” Judge said.
It’s a sign life is getting back to normal, again.
“New York is coming back,” one person said.
“No place feels like this place. Only New York is New York,” Seinfeld said.
ELSEWHERE ON THE NYC ENTERTAINMENT SCENE ….
Big Apple music venues — massive ones and some that are cozy — finally brought back in-the-flesh performances.
“It’s so wild because for so long it’s just been so cooped up. You just want to get out, do you wanna have a time,” Lower Manhattan resident Christian Kane told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
MORE: NYC’s Top 5 Bars On The Bowery
Kane was outside Bowery Electric. On Friday night, that spot rocked again with Jesse Malin.
“It’s just exciting because people can physically see an artist again in person,” said Bowery Electric manager Megan Zarnott.
Zarnott said only 50 people were allowed because the state limits the crowd to 33% capacity. Masks had to be on whenever anyone was standing up or moving around.
“Music is therapy for a lot of people and it’s important to give that to the customers,” Zarnott said.
“We are raring to go. We’re itching to go,” said Alex Poots, artistic director and CEO of The Shed.
Also on Friday, The Shed welcomed Kelsey Lu to its indoor stage.
“Standing in this room, we can do 2,000 and tonight and will have 150,” Poots said. “There may be three steps forward, two steps back in the coming months. We’re ready for that. If we have to press pause, we will, to keep everyone safe.”
The 33% cap does not work out financially for many locations, but several comedy clubs are coming back.
Cavernous spaces like the Park Avenue Armory are creatively adapting: On April 9, the audience there gets to dance in an event called “Social! The Social Distance Dance Club.” All 13 performances quickly sold out.
New Jersey raised the limit on outdoor gatherings Friday from 50 to 200 people.
Connecticut allowed outdoor amusement parks to reopen Friday and raised capacity at outdoor events to 50%, with a 10,000 person maximum.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin contributed to this report