Crowd gathered in Central Park for ‘We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert’ on Saturday was asked to evacuate due to severe weather conditions as Hurricane Henri neared. Lightning strikes were reported within a 10-mile radius of the Great Lawn.
New York City police took to Twitter at night to caution concertgoers. They announced, "calmly move to the nearest exits and proceed to areas outside of the park. This is NOT an emergency."
Designed to mark a comeback for New York City that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the concert opened on Saturday in Central Park with a pre-recorded video featuring stars like Stephen Colbert and Sara Bareilles delivering a rendition of "New York State of Mind."
The concert caps off a week-long celebration of the city’s reopening, which consisted of live concerts, free movie screenings, Restaurant Week, cultural activities and more.
Attendees were treated to a musical montage of New York affiliated artists and entertainers, including Broadway star Idina Menzel and award-winning actress Laura Dern, serenading the Big Apple with the Billy Joel tune during the concert's pre-show.
The performance on Saturday follows a week of hip-hop concerts at outdoor locations across the city.
The performance began despite concerns about the spread of COVID-19's infectious delta version.
According to official figures, New York City has averaged slightly under 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day over the previous week. This is an increase from slightly under 200 cases each day in late June. Only around 54% of city residents have had complete vaccination against the virus.
Those who attended the event, for which the bulk of tickets were given away for free, were required to provide proof of vaccination.