NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a stop in New York City – even the music.

But, musicians are now finding ways to get back to work as the city continues on the road to reopening, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.

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Drummer Josh Roberts wears a mask while leading a trio helping fill the West Village with live music.

“You can definitely tell people are extremely hungry for it,” said Roberts, who’s trying to make New York City sound more like its old self.

Roberts said neighbors tip more generously than before, because music brings them greater joy now.

“For them, yes, but also for the musicians, it’s been incredibly healing,” he said.

In the first months of the pandemic, many local musicians lost what they needed most: collaboration with each other and audiences.

Now, creative solutions are bringing them back across the city – from Bar Nine on Ninth Avenue to Swing 46, which is part of Hell’s Kitchen’s restaurant row.


A few doors down on the same block, music is played at Don’t Tell Mama.

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“It’s soulful to them. It’s something that they need,” said Joshua Fazeli, the general manager.

Fazeli said his business depends on following all the regulations, avoiding neighborhood noise complains and keeping people safe.

“So this is closed, we don’t have anybody coming through this gate, and they sing and then we have outdoor dining out here, and it’s awesome,” he said.

So, what convinced some restaurant owners to jump on a live music bandwagon? Block parties.

Holly Anne Devlin of Kaleidoscope Productions helped make it happen by donating money and raising funds to pay musicians.

“I also really encourage block associations to come together and to do fundraising,” said Devlin. “We’re providing a service for not only musicians, but the restaurants by providing the entertainment, because the restaurants don’t have the money to pay the musicians either.”

Devlin insisted music heals, and wanted all New Yorkers, from philanthropists to politicians, to keep that in mind.

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