Metropolitan Opera Season, New Year's Eve Celebrations Among Major Cancelations In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Wednesday it was announced the upcoming season of the Metropolitan Opera and the in-person New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square have been canceled.

Both decisions are expected to have a ripple effect that extends to restaurants, hotels and beyond.

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Grammy-award winning musician and composer Terence Blanchard was filled with emotions after learning the Metropolitan Opera is skipping an entire season of its nearly 140-year history because of the pandemic.

“When I first heard that the season was going to be canceled, my heart was broken,” Blanchard told CBS2’s Cory James.

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Beloved classics like “Aida” will have to wait another year before being seen on stage.

“We need that performance time to help heal our souls, so for all of that to be taken away from us within the blink of an eye has been a huge tragedy,” Blanchard said.

That’s not the only major event change.

The New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square is going virtual.

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The cancelations and changes are impacting New York City.

Last year, more than 66 million tourists came to the Big Apple, supporting over 400,000 jobs and generating close to $73 billion.

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All boroughs will not see that money this year.

“Fifteen million tourists make their way to Brooklyn every year,” said Randy Peers, with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “We are reliant on entertainment, hospitality and restaurant … A lot of that tied to tourism.”

“Economically, the punch is hard,” said Mark Jaffe, with the New York City Chamber of Commerce. “Tourism is down, safety is a concern … It’s a tough time for all of us.”

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Christopher Heywood with NYC & Company is working to get tourism back with the “All in NYC” campaign.

He says people can still enjoy the city but just in a different way.

“For New Year’s Eve, people can virtually engage with that event. For Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, they still engage with that event through broadcast,” Heywood said.

As for the Met Opera, Blanchard, who composed the opera “Fire Shut Up In My Bones,” is preparing to be the first Black composer in the Metropolitan Opera’s history.

It’s a moment he says sits on top of his many accomplishments.

“For me to do the Metropolitan Opera, I’m just amazed, I’m floored, I never could have seen it coming,” he said.

Audiences will just have to wait until the 2021-22 season to see it.

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