Your Cart

92Y@Home

Enjoy the best of 92Y online

If you like what you find here, sign up for more in our daily email, 92Y @ Home, and please, consider making a contribution to support 92Y so we can continue to be here, now, for you.

Classes & Events

Explore our growing list of online classes and events.

Livestream

Timothy Cardinal Dolan in Conversation with Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein

Apr 5, 2020, 5 pm ET

Cardinal Dolan and Rabbi Rubinstein will discuss the importance of community even when we can’t be together physically. What should our religious institutions be doing? From where do we derive comfort and strength in difficult times? What is the role of faith in facing adversity?

Learn more


Watch again

A talk with the stars and directors of Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Apr 3, 2020, 8 pm ET

Crip Camp, the film that was executive produced by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, is one of the most uplifting documentaries now streaming on Netflix. Join Judy Heumann, the galvanizing force for disability rights in the film, plus directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht for a conversation with Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson. Get notified here when it’s about to begin.

Watch now

Pedrito Martinez

Apr 1, 2020, 7:30 pm ET

Join Pedrito Martinez and his large group as they deliver an electrifying, danceable set of percussion- and horn-driven Afro-Cuban jazz.

Learn more

Emily St. John Mandel with Entertainment Weekly’s Seija Rankin

Apr 1, 2020, 5 pm ET

Looking for your next utterly riveting read? Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel, The Glass Hotel, has all the critics abuzz. Join the award-winning author as she discusses her brilliant new book with Entertainment Weekly’s Seija Rankin.

Watch now

Samantha Irby in Conversation with Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield

Mar 31, 2020, 5 pm ET

How does Samantha Irby do social distancing? Join the “sidesplitting polemicist for the most awful situations’ fresh from Kalamazoo as she tells all to Entertainment Weekly&rquo;s David Canfield.

Watch now

Third Coast Percussion Live from Chicago

The intrepid Third Coast Percussion ensemble live-streams a program of astonishing variety live from their Chicago studio, showcasing works written especially for them by Philip Glass, Devonté Tynes (better known as the R&B star Blood Orange), ensemble member Peter Martin, and a very special sneak-preview of a forthcoming suite by composer and producer Jlin, which will be given its world premiere next season.

Watch now

Jonathan Biss, piano

“One of his generation’s most serious musical thinkers” (The New York Times), Jonathan Biss brings his rich insight and commanding technique to Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas.

Watch now

Conrad Tao, piano

The phenomenal pianist Conrad Tao live-streamed an exclusive concert for 92Y patrons live from his apartment, playing the boundary-busting Frederic Rzewski’s jazzy The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, 36 variations on a Chilean protest song and anthem of unity.

Program: FREDERIC RZEWSKI: The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

Watch now

Fleur Barron, mezzo-soprano and Myra Huang, piano

The indefatigable British-Singaporean mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron made her New York recital debut at 92Y with a mesmerizing and gorgeous vocal performance of Beethoven and Mahler, accompanied by pianist Myra Huang. Kaufmann Concert Hall may have been empty, but the livestream broadcast was viewed 77,000 times in 125 countries.

Watch now

Garrick Ohlsson, piano

We were honored when the world-renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson graciously performed a concert of Chopin, Beethoven and Prokofiev on our stage. The hall was empty, but audiences tuned in from all over the world to hear this very special performance.

Watch now

Family Activities

Makers & Creators: Art projects

Design challenge: make your own crown

Bring on the bling with an upcycling artist extraordinaire: our Art Center’s very own Emily Coyne!

Read more

 

Make your own spring flowers

Spring has sprung, even if we’re not able to fully experience its beauty right now. So have your little ones create some beauty of their own! Our Art Center offers this fun idea for using a paper or plastic cup to make unique three-dimensional flowers ’ or a whole bouquet!

Read more

 

Make a Rainbow for Your Window With … Bubblewrap

Art Center Director Allison Valchuis shares an idea kids will love and find meaningful: paint a rainbow on bubblewrap to hang in the window!

Read more

 

Have fun making prints with … fruit!

Those apples in the fridge? Art Center Director Allison Valchuis isn’t thinking “snacks,” she’’s thinking “stamps!” She shares a terrific idea for preschoolers and kindergartners using the cut side of fruits and vegetables and paint to create beautiful, original patterns.

Read more

 

Make Salad Spinner Spin Art

Art Center Director Allison Valchuis sees the potential for art in everything—including her salad spinner! She shares a terrific project for kids that has them use a basic kitchen tool to create uniquely beautiful works of spin art.

Read more

 

Art at Home

Art Center Director Allison Valchuis shares some ideas for art projects kids can have fun with at home. She’s got a fun and crafty project for 3- to 5-year-olds: making marbled papers out of shaving cream.

Read more

 

Let’s Make Some Music: Music & Singing Activities

Listen to a “Wild” Classical Playlist

Introduce children of all ages to some “wild” classical music, with this wonderful Classical4Kids playlist assembled by School of Music faculty member Eleonor Bindman. Her “All About Animals” program is like a musical trip through the zoo! Listen to it here. And read School of Music Director Yana Stotland’s tips for listening along with your children.

Read more

 

Listen to Music and Create

This project from School of Music Director Yana Stotland combines music with other art forms, giving children a true “multimedia” experience and a great outlet for self-expression.

Read more

 

Broadway, Here I Come: Musical Theater Activities

  • Learn a basic tap routine

    There’s a reason why tap dancing is such a classic activity for children—it’s joyful, it lets them be musicians with their feet, and anyone can do it! In this fun video, Musical Theater Director Megan Doyle demonstrates a basic step and builds upon it to make a little routine. Your child doesn’t even need to have tap shoes to do it! Get the steps here, and read why Megan thinks tap is so terrific for kids.

    Read more

Write Your Own Play

Musical Theater Director Megan Doyle embodies the spirit “the show must go on!” She shares a terrific, imagination-rich idea for children to create their own play (with help from parents for little ones). Start with thinking up a few characters: astronaut? teacher? magician? and build from there, with a performance for the family when finished!

Read more

 

Write Here, Write Now: Creative Writing Prompts & Projects

Some of the world’s most famous writers visit 92Y to read from their books and talk to students about how they write. We asked Jaqueline Woodson, author of the classic Brown Girl Dreaming, and Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge, for some prompts to get us started.

Read more

 

Let’s Dance: Make Your Moves Here

  • Can you dance an alphabet?

    Taryn Kaschock Russell, director of our Harkness Dance Center, gets started with the best word: LOVE.

 

Host your own dance party

Know your “blue” move? Your “red” one? The Harkness Dance Center shares a colorful idea that combines energizing dance moves with quick thinking (when someone says “purple,” shake your body … “blue,” fall to the floor, and so on). Families are getting more creative every day with their at-home dance parties—this is a fun way to elevate yours!

Read more

 

Something to Think About: The Place for Big Ideas

Have you ever wondered why some things float and others don’t? Here’s Neil deGrasse Tyson to explain.

Watch now

 

On Generosity: Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant in Conversation with Susan Cain

How do we teach the values of generosity at home? Wharton psychologist Adam Grant and his wife, Allison Sweet Grant, talk with Quiet author Susan Cain about how we can care for ourselves and others, teach those values to children, and prepare them to lead lives of meaning.

Watch now

 

Ideas for the Whole Family: Activities for Everyone to Do Together

Family game night

Being home together as a family for an extended period has its upsides: family dinners! family chores (we hope!) and better-than-ever family game nights. Our Yomi Seniors Camp Director Emily Bencosme shares an idea that’s always a hit with her 5th- and 6th-grade campers: A fun, homemade “Minute to Win It” challenge. So set aside the Monopoly board and grab a timer!

Register now

 

Creative family Passover seder

Don’t forget to sign up for our creative family Passover seder with Rebecca Schoffer on Tuesday, April 8 at 10:30 AM EDT.

Register now

 

Shababa live: Mar 28

Gather the whole family for singing, dancing and celebrating with Rebecca Schoffer from wherever you are.

Watch now

 

Shake it up with a concert for the kids

Give your kids a taste of the irresistible rhythms of Cuban music with the brilliant percussionist Pedrito Martinez. Pedrito and his band’s energy-packed concerts were attended by 4,000 highly jazzed NYC public elementary school children last December. It was all part of our Center for Arts Learning and Leadership initiative to provide high quality arts education for public schools. Enjoy the excitement with your whole family here.

Watch now

Fun Camp Activities to Do at Home

Melissa Cole from our 92Y Camps team offers a day’s worth of in-door activities to make Saturday fun for everyone. Set up camp in the living room, do the 92Y Camps cheer—and then pump up the volume with a terrific, energizing 20-minute dance workout from 92Y Camps Zumba and theater instructor Bebe. Find it all here, and don’t forget the s’mores!

Read more

 

Discover Music: Uncle Earl

May 13, 2020, 11:30 am

Fearless ambassadors of American old-time music, Uncle Earl uses tradition as a springboard, coloring a vast and varied legacy with their own unique perspectives as vocalists, instrumentalists and songwriters.

More info

 

Three Things Families Can Do Together

We asked our Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen for some advice on how to keep the whole family happy and occupied while their usual activities are curtailed. Here’s what she said:

“Families are going to be spending a lot of time together, and our Parenting Center will be offering suggestions for all kinds of activities to keep young children active and engaged in the days ahead. Most important is that parents maintain routines—or create new ones—whether it’s the time children have breakfast and brush teeth or help with daily household chores (now is the perfect time to involve them more!). Routines help ground us. Embrace them!”

Read more



Just for Parents: Advice and Inspiration From Your 92Y Family

Finding Calm: Tools and Techniques for Helping Children and Parents Cope with Anxiety

Seeing your child struggle with anxiety is hard at any time, but can seem particularly overwhelming during this time of quarantine. 92Y Early Childhood Programs Director Ellen Birnbaum and Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen sat down with psychologist Dr. Randi Pochtar, from the Child Study Center at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital, NYU Langone, for a talk on the topic of children and anxiety one night in February. They share their advice as we all try to adjust to new challenges and help our children cope.

Read more

 

Creating Space

As families are hunkered down at home together, the only thing many are not finding endless is their square footage. With kids going to school online and parents working from home, we’re navigating more than our emotions these days—we’re jockeying for physical space. Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen offers some thoughts on how to make sure everyone gets some of what they need in this time of giving up so much.

Read more

 

“Remember to breathe. If we look worried, our children react with worry.”

Sage words from Ellen Birnbaum, director of 92Y’s early childhood programs and former director of the 92nd Street Y Nursery School. What does a parent say to a young child worried about the changes in their world? How can we keep our own stress from being felt by our children? We reached out to Ellen for some advice.

Read more

 

Make a weekday schedule for the family!

92Y Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen offers some tips for creating structure to allow both parents and kids to thrive best.

Read more

Living Well

What I’m watching with Reel Pieces’ Annette Insdorf

Now that enforced staying-at-home has turned most of us into proverbial couch potatoes, Netflix is much appreciated. Among the best viewing experiences I've had in 2020 are two new series — based on true stories — focused on unique and compelling female protagonists. One is Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. Starring (and produced by) the Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, it focuses on America's first self-made female millionaire.

The other is Unorthodox, about a young woman who flees a Hasidic husband and existence in Brooklyn, and tries to make a new life in Berlin. Shira Haas (Shtisel, Foxtrot, The Zookeeper’s Wife) is superb as the confused but courageous heroine, and the supporting characters of this mainly Yiddish-language series are vivid.

Both of these Netflix dramas present not only female empowerment, but nuanced visions of communities that have often been depicted in stereotypical ways. If you have almost four hours to enter another world, Unorthodox is my top recommendation, followed by Self Made.

 

What’s going on in Warburg Lounge?

Madiha Choksi

While our seniors quarantine at home, their normally buzzing hangout spot in 92Y’s Warburg Lounge was completely silent—until last week. It’s now the makeshift assembly-line headquarters for Madiha Choksi, a research and learning technologies librarian at Columbia University. In the dire shortage of protective masks, Madiha and her team of volunteers are helping to fight coronavirus by putting together 3D printed face shields for medical workers. And thanks to Operations Director Chris Bynum and the security team at 92Y, they’re using Warburg as a base, safely standing six feet apart as they rush to put together the shields, churning them out at a rate of 700+ a day, sanitizing them, boxing them up and sending them off to hospitals like New York Presbyterian, Mount Sinai and Elmhurst, where they’re used by doctors, nurses and medical staff.

“Medical professionals who are working with infected patients wear the face shields over their masks during intubation, chest compressions, etc. They protect the exposed skin from ear to ear to the bottom of your neck. They’re easy to sanitize and can be reused. There’s a massive shortage of PPE materials but we can create and replicate these pretty quickly,” says Madiha.

It all started on Thursday, March 19, when Madiha received a call for help from Pierre Elias, a Columbia University cardiology fellow. Part of Madiha’s job is running the library’s 3D printing program. Could she find a blueprint online to create face shields for medical staff to wear over their masks? The library was closed and Madiha was working from home, but she worked quickly to persuade Columbia to let her into the building, bring two 3D printers back to her apartment, pick up supplies at Staples, and start prototyping the shields for Dr. Elias. By Saturday she’d made five. “He loved them,” she says, “So I reached out on social media to crowdsource supplies and printing companies.” In just two days she outgrew her apartment, making 40 masks a day. “I had lots of volunteers, but I couldn’t use their help because of social distancing.” Desperate for more space, she called RJ Panda, a project director at the Lehrer Cumming architecture firm who reached out to 92Y Operations Director Chris Bynum—who quickly helped her get set up in Warburg Lounge.

“Hospitals have told us the product is excellent—and they want more,” says Madiha. “Elmhurst asked for 10,000. Mount Sinai asked for 15,000. We have three companies providing the materials, we have the volunteers—and now we have the space to put the masks together. And the designs we’re using have now have been approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and uploaded onto their website, so other people can download and use it to make more.

“We’re doing this at the grassroots level,” says Madiha. “At this point, it’s just like, whatever we can do, let’s do it.”

 

Self-Quarantine: Keeping your close relationships strong

Even the strongest personal relationships can develop cracks when faced with the pressure of social distancing and self-quarantine. We asked Elaine Aron, PhD, the bestselling author of The Highly Sensitive Person franchise of books, for some advice.

Read her five ways to save your relationship as you isolate together.

Read more

 

Workout Wednesdays

Join us Wednesdays at at 8:30 am EDT for a new series of weekly livestreamed workouts from our expert trainers in 92Y’s May Center! We’re starting with a fast-paced workout for all levels designed to keep your heart rate up, build muscle, boost energy and more. You’ll need a couple of weights (two water bottles or soup cans will do), and a workout mat or towel.

Watch now

 

A breathing technique to calm you

Just saying or thinking the word “breathe” can bring you a step closer to a calmer self. To start the week, we’re sharing a mindful breathing technique suggested by May Center group exercise yoga instructor Evelyn Pate. It’s one anyone can do anytime, and an exercise Evelyn practices herself when feeling stressed.

Read more

 

Just keep moving

Athletics Director Katero Noviello knows how important sports and athletic activities are to children, and how much they factor into a child’s regular routine and well-being. She shares a series of conditioning and skill-building exercises every child can practice at home (parents too!). Try the Wall Sit (hold it … hold it … ) and the Crab Walk—and make these exercises part of a regular routine to help children stay fit and keep the whole family moving!

Read more

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, April 3, 6 pm ET

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein invites you to join him at home via Facebook for Shabbat. Rabbi Rubinstein will discuss A Lesson from Passover: Enlarging beyond narrowness and confinement.

 

And please sign up to join our Community Passover Seder on Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 pm. It’s free, but registration is required.

 

Wednesday, April 1, 6:45 pm ET

Turn off your twitter feed and tune in to stories of wonder and miracles, as 92Y’s Rabbi Scott Perlo explores the best of Jewish tales, myths and legends. Find him on our Shalom@Home group.

 

Friday, March 27, 6 pm ET

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein invited everyone to join him at home via Facebook for Shabbat. After the blessing, Rabbi Rubinstein will discuss “How We Can Sanctify People, Places and Time in our Lives.” We hope you can join him.

 

Friday, March 20, 6 pm ET

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein invited everyone to join him and his wife, Kerry Rubinstein—and their challah-loving dog Tali—into their home via Facebook for a special Shabbat.

Watch now

Read by

Read By is a new podcast where today’s finest writers read the work that matters to them—from their homes, to yours. Produced and commissioned by 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center, a home for live readings of literature for over 80 years. Released Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Apr 3: Billy Collins
Apr 1: Rachel Cusk
Mar 30: George Saunders
Mar 27: Gary Shteyngart
Mar 25: Ann Patchett
Mar 23: James Shapiro

Highlights from our Archives

Some beauty from Bach

Schitt’s Creek

For cellist Steven Isserlis, Bach’s solo suites are "total perfection.” His April 2018 performance on our stage of the fifth suite was transformative. Isserlis writes, “The suite reaches its emotional peak in the desolate loneliness of the famous Sarabande. What an extraordinary movement this is: no discernible melody as such, no particular rhythmic interest, no obvious dynamic changes, no chords—and yet, one of the most powerful pieces of music ever composed.” Listen and watch this amazing performance.

Watch now

 

Watch John Mulaney and Bill Hader laugh till it hurts

Mulaney Hader

The SNL alums were here on May 12 last year to talk about Season 2 of Barry. It turned out to be one of our funniest talks ever. And those nice people at HBO are streaming Barry and a whole lot of other shows for free right now, so you can head over there when you’ve finished watching.

Watch now

 

Remembering Bucky Pizzarelli

Bucky Pizzarelli

The sheer joy of making music was personified in jazz guitar master Bucky Pizzarelli, who passed away on Thursday of coronavirus at the age of 94. Bucky held only one thing closer than music—family. And we considered him part of our 92Y family—he performed on our stage more than a dozen times. Today, we remember Bucky with his tender version of “Sweet Sue,” as our hearts go out to those closest to him.

Watch now

 

What’s in a tune?

Gershwin Mozart

As we collectively relish in more livestream concerts than ever before, we’ve been thinking about the music that sticks with us. What keeps us so powerfully connected to certain pieces across the centuries?

Louis Rosen has taught some of our most popular music appreciation classes for more than 30 years. He breaks it down for us in this short, brilliant video that demonstrates how a tune works — uncovering the surprising connection between two melodies by Mozart and Gershwin separated by 150 years, the Atlantic Ocean, and major cultural differences.

Watch now

 

Reel Pieces: Francis Ford Coppola on Cinema’s Past and Future, Casting Marlon Brando in The Godfather, and more

Coppola

“It’s almost as if humanity was waiting for the cinema to come, because when it did come, when the technology came, there was a rush of masterpieces… It burst out.”

When legendary director Francis Ford Coppola visited 92Y to talk to Annette Insdorf about his life and career in 2015, he was bursting with contagious energy and fresh ideas about the movies—along with hilarious, jaw-dropping stories about casting a very eccentric Marlon Brando in his early films and feeling rejected after reading early bad reviews for Apocalypse Now.

Watch this classic Reel Pieces talk from June 9, 2015.

Watch now

 

Backstage Stories: A Home Base for the Cast of Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek, the hysterical saga of a cosmopolitan family forced to live in the sticks, has been one of our favorite shows on TV for the last few years. The stars of the series—Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy—visited 92Y several times at the beginning of a new season to screen an episode and chat. We’ve come to think of them as a part of the 92Y family.

“They were some of the nicest people I’ve ever interacted with on a professional level,” says 92Y Senior Publicist Andrew Sherman. “They were always excited to be there. Chit-chatting with Eugene on the side, trading stories about our mutual interest in Leonard Cohen, talking about his earlier appearances at the Y—he was just incredibly down-to-earth. In 2016, the first time they appeared, Eugene was genuinely surprised and touched by the audience’s thunderous reaction when the curtain went up—you can see it in the video.”

Watch the full talk from that night on March 14, 2016.

Watch now

 

A dream of dance for every child

DEL Movement Sentence Choir

Virtually everything that is happening today in dance in New York City’s public schools is connected, in some way, to DEL (Dance Education Laboratory) and the work it does to equip teachers with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, as part of DEL’s 25th anniversary celebrations, founder Jody Gottfried Arnhold, founding faculty Ann Biddle, and dancers from The D.R.E.A.M. Ring (Dance Rules Everything Around Me), came together with inter-generational dancers and dance educators to create a Movement Sentence Choir.

Watch this incredible video to see what happened. The dance they created shows us how anybody can dance; how we can make a dance about anything; how process is just as important as product; and how, above all, we are meant to be together.

Watch now

 

A musical treasure to revel in

On an April evening in 2010, pianist Peter Serkin and the Orion String Quartet delivered a stunning performance of what many consider the greatest work ever written for piano quintet, Brahms' Quintet in F Minor. Lyrical and fierce, the performance from April 18, 2010, is one of the treasures of our concerts archive.

Watch now

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by
And that had made all the difference

Robert Frost

These iconic lines of poetry were written by Robert Frost, of course, in his famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Frost read the poem here at 92Y in 1952, and luckily, we recorded it. Before he reads the poem, Frost wonders, “How should ‘The Road Not Taken’ be taken?” Listen and decide for yourself.

Listen now

 

A home for voices at the vanguard

Martha Graham

Pioneer of modern dance Martha Graham first appeared at 92Y in a now legendary “Symposium on Modern Dance” in spring 1935. 92Y was the first presenter of modern dance and the artists who created the form, and Graham went on to choreograph and perform several of her trailblazing early works here in the 1930s and ’40s.

Harkness Dance Center Director Taryn Kaschock Russell builds upon Graham’s legacy in her work at 92Y, and her connection is personal. “I danced The Bride in Appalachian Spring—Martha’s role—while a member of the Joffrey Ballet. It was a moment that profoundly impacted my life—both as a dancer and, later, as an educator. I felt the responsibility of history.”

Martha Graham spoke with dance critic Walter Terry about her work and life on our stage on March 31, 1963.

Listen now

 

Malcolm Gladwell and Jelani Cobb on truth, deception, and Talking to Strangers

Jelani Cobb and Malcolm Gladwell

As we settle into the “new normal” of social distrancing, many of us are asking ourselves: Who can we trust to be frank with us about the facts and tell us the truth?

Last fall, Malcolm Gladwell and Jelani Cobb sat down at 92Y to discuss this very question. In a conversation about Gladwell’s latest book, Talking to Strangers, the fellow New Yorker writers offered a brilliant, witty, and refreshingly straightforward perspective on how we determine who we can trust.

Watch this fascinating discussion from September 27, 2019.

Watch now

 

A musical gem

Here’s a throwback to one thrilling night in November, 2018, when the charismatic Danish String Quartet performed Haydn’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2 on our stage. Listen and watch here.

Watch now

 

Oh Hello, on Broadway

Oh Hello

And just because it’s too good not to share: The time when notorious tuna-lovers George and Gil (John Mulaney and Nick Kroll) returned to the stage where it all began for a conversation with John Oliver.

Watch now

 

Behind the scenes with the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Feel like you’re cooking all the time these days? Here’s a little inspiration from the rock stars of the BA test kitchen, who joined us last month.

Watch now

 

Backstage stories: Waiting for Stritch

Elaine Stritch

Michael Musto: Elaine, you’ve worked with Noël Coward, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim. They chose you —

Elaine Stritch: No place to go but up, right?

The last time the legendary actress and performer Elaine Stritch visited 92Y to talk about her life and career, she was still the undisputed queen of comic timing at 89 years old. But up until she came onstage, it wasn’t clear that the show would go on …

“Elaine Stritch was a multi-talented, larger-than-life character. She was supposed to arrive at 6:45 pm for the event with Michael Musto,” recalls 92Y”s Sue Solomon. “We had a full house of 900 people. Seven o'clock rolled around. 7:20 … 7:30. No Elaine. I finally get word from her driver, who admitted that she had stepped off on East 57th Street to get her hair done.

“Backstage there’s an elevator that leads directly up from street level. This elevator is … indescribable. Eventually, almost 40 minutes after the hour, through the elevator shaft I hear someone yelling, ‘Hey! Be careful, boys!’ It was Elaine, in her wheelchair, with the crew who were trying to help her in. Everyone in the audience could hear it. I shouted down the elevator shaft, “Elaine! Everyone can hear you!’ She yells back, “I don’t give a s--t!’ The elevator ascends, the door opens, and there she is, in her sable coat, looking so glamorous. ‘Sue!’ she said, ‘Just wheel me out there.’ And she was as sweet as can be. It was a fabulous event. She was terrific onstage. The audience went crazy.”

Sadly, Stritch passed away a few months later. We’re honored to share these seven pitch-perfect one-liners from that magical night.

Watch now

 

Sunday Suppers

Elaine Stritch

When food talks, we’ve always listened—to Ina Garten and Yotam Ottolenghi and Ruth Reichl and Danny Meyer and so many more. Today we begin bringing you Sunday Suppers—a weekly helping of some of our most delicious talks with the chefs at the top of the food chain. To start, this wonderful October 2015 conversation between Jacques P&eqcute;pin and Anthony Bourdain.

Watch now

 

Encore!

Listen to two new songs released from the powerful Gershwin performance by Paul Masse: “The Man I Love” and “Love is Here to Stay”

 

Watch Lizzo bring the noise

Lizzo

When we got word that pop megastar Lizzo was coming to 92Y last year to talk about her game-changing debut album Cuz I Love You with Phoebe Robinson, we knew that the 92Y community would love it. How much? When Lizzo came onstage on September 20, the cheering from the sold-out crowd was so loud that we could hear it through the ventilation system in the May Fitness Center men’s locker room three floors up.

The joy of the talk itself lived up to the noise. Hear Lizzo and Robinson talk about fame, body positivity, the genius of Missy Elliott, and much more in this instant classic from our archives.

Watch now

 

Reel Pieces with Annette Insdorf: Navigating cramped interiors with the stars of Birdman

Birdman

Feel like you’re beginning to know the inside of your house like the back of your hand? The stars of Birdman can relate. Watch Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Zach Galifianakis talk to Reel Pieces moderator Annette Insdorf about the complicated filming process and long, uninterrupted takes that brought the winding backstage passageways of New York’s St. James Theater to life—not to mention the heartbreaking, hilarious, and groundbreaking movie that came out of it.

Watch now

New installments of Annette Insdorf’s Reel Pieces Film Club begin streaming Sunday, March 29. The classic films in this series will be accompanied by a live online discussion with Insdorf on Sundays at 8 pm.

Learn more

 

An evening for Terrence McNally

Isabel Allende

“During the run of Mothers and Sons … I was going up 8th Avenue and I saw the marquee and I felt, that’s me, I did what I wanted to do.”

Some of his closest friends and collaborators—Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski and Lynn Ahrens among them—joined Terrence McNally onstage for a conversation about his rich and resonant career, along with reenacted scenes from two of his groundbreaking plays. McNally spoke of the abundance in his life in an evening full of shared memories and joy.

Watch now

 

Reel Pieces with Annette Insdorf: Channeling Truman Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman

“I had a gut instinct of why I wanted to do this. At the beginning of the story, Truman didn’t know what to do. He was at a loss. And I was feeling like that.”

—The great Philip Seymore Hoffman talks with Annette Insdorf on our stage, January 11, 2006

Since 1987, Columbia film professor Annette Insdorf has interviewed some of the world’s most renowned actors and filmmakers on 92Y’s stage for her Reel Pieces series. Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Frances Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and many more have joined us over the years to delve into their work.

See the great Philip Seymour Hoffman talk about his Oscar-winning role as the title character in Capote. In this remarkable interview, as Hoffman explains how he prepared for the role, he reveals as much of himself as an actor as he does of his subject, Truman Capote. Capote himself frequented 92Y, debuting In Cold Blood on our stage in 1964. That recording does not exist, but you can hear his voice here, in a recording made in 1963, reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s at 92Y.

We are very pleased to let you know that Annette’s series continues online. New installments of Annette Insdorf’s Reel Pieces Film Club begin streaming Sunday, March 29. The classic films in this series will be accompanied by a live online discussion with Insdorf on Sundays at 8 pm.

Learn more

 

An inspiring speech

Susan Engel, director of 92Y Talks, has produced our conversations series for 37 years. She’s the person who brought the first big Hollywood stars to our stage for intimate conversations, and has curated some truly remarkable events with thought leaders from the worlds of politics, news, fashion, art, business, science, entertainment and much more.

Susan recalls 92Y’s long relationship with Mario Cuomo. “He came and spoke at 92Y many times over the years, and he was always incredibly thoughtful and warm,” she says. “He would call me on the phone before his visits to read the remarks that he had planned for a given event, sometimes for an hour, and asked me if I thought they were any good. Of course they always were. His speech ‘Who is God?’—delivered during his third term as the governor of New York—was particularly inspiring. He loved this speech so much that it became the basis of his book, Reason to Believe.”

Listen now

 

Happy birthday, Stephen Sondheim

Stephen-Sondheim

Photo credit: Jerry Jackson

March 22, 2020 marked the 90th birthday of musical theater’s greatest composer-lyricist.

Stephen Sondheim actually made his very first public speaking appearance on our stage, on May 2, 1971, as part of 92Y’s inaugural Lyrics & Lyricists season.

His intimate talk that evening captures his reflections on what he calls “the craft, not the art,” of lyric writing, on why it’s the simplicity of the line “I just kissed a girl named Maria”—not the grand part—that makes that song soar, and so much more, amounting to a riveting and witty master class for anyone who writes anything.

Listen to this nearly 50-year-old treasure from our archive.

Listen now

 

Backstage stories: Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, and a bunch of show-stealing kids

kids

Taj Greenlee, assistant director of 92Y Talks, A.K.A. the mastermind behind some of our most popular conversations onstage, recalls one of his sweetest moments in our hall.

Earlier this year, SNL alums Seth Meyers and John Mulaney were about to go onstage to talk about Mulaney’s new Netflix special, John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.

“We were playing the soundtrack from the show when the audience was coming into the building,” Greenlee says. “The main theme song came on, and suddenly all of the kids who sang it in the special stood up in their seats and started performing it live for everyone who was filing in. We had arranged with John Mulaney to get all these young actors free tickets, so they were there, all wearing their Sack Lunch Bunch jackets—it was easy to identify them. They hadn’t all been in the same room together since the show had taped, and they were extremely excited to see one another—and given that they were theater kids, they were not shy to perform and talk to the audience. It was incredibly sweet. It made for a warm mood in the room, which carried over into the conversation onstage.”

Watch now

 

A hunt for hope through dance

Catriona Balfe Sam Heughan

On a drizzly Friday evening earlier this month, spectators huddled on the steps of 92Y. A shabby-looking car pulled up, out spilled Northern Ireland choreographer Oona Doherty, and so began one of the most powerful dance performances of our season.

Transforming herself into a stereotypical young man from the rough neighborhoods of Belfast, she led the audience up the stairs into Buttenwieser Hall to give a performance the New York Times called “astonishing.”

“She’s one of the most striking performers, without question, that I’ve ever witnessed,” said Taryn Kaschock Russell, the director of 92Y’s Harkness Dance Center. “It comes from the level of commitment and raw vulnerability that she allowed us witness. She took us to places that were really hard to be part of, but then she took you right out of them, and into the next thing. There was such clear vulnerability—I ended up crying both times I saw it. It elicited such powerful emotions.”

Oona Doherty and Joss Carter performed Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus on March 6, 2020.

Watch now

 

Tony Soprano in the Night Kitchen

A gem from our archives. Watch the great James Gandolfini in this special Poetry Center tribute to Maurice Sendak from September 15, 2008. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Watch now

 

A concert to transport you

Messiaen’s modernist masterpiece, Quartet for the End of Time, is a reminder of art’s capacity to simultaneously strike us with awe, and bring us hope. Here’s a throwback to one unforgettable night in Kaufmann Concert Hall, from April 20, 2013, when Christian Tetzlaff, his sister Tanja Tetzlaff and his friends Jorg Widmann and Alexander Lonquich took our breath away with their astonishing playing. Hold on for the end of the last movement, and marvel.

Watch now

 

A reading to soothe the soul

On March 19, the New York Times featured a piece on what books authors read to calm their anxieties in a time of crisis. Joshua Ferris’s choice was Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s novel of faith, family history, and intergenerational connection. Her voice “soothe[s] me like a milk-fed baby, as [she] shores up against pessimism without ever being timid or false,” he wrote. Watch her read from that beautiful book on our stage on March 14, 2005.

Watch now

 

John Cheever, “The Swimmer,” and working from home

Legend has it that John Cheever put on a suit before he rode the elevator down to his basement office every morning to write, only to strip down to his boxers once he got there. As we try to adapt to our new work-from-home routines, listen to Cheever’s reading of his classic story “The Swimmer” from 1977.

Listen now

 

Behind the scenes of our favorite streaming shows

Catriona Balfe Sam Heughan

From Outlander to The Crown, some of the most binge-worthy shows on TV have brought their casts and creatives to our stage to share behind-the-scenes insights and stories. Here is one of our favorites—and we’ll be sharing lots more in the coming days. So pop the popcorn, throw on your sweats, and let’s get comfy.

On February 20, the stars of Outlander joined author Diana Gabaldon for a sold-out, in-depth chat about the the series trajectory.

Watch now

 

Sparks of positivity from Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo

Sometimes getting on with practical tasks like sorting out our stuff can provide a therapeutic distraction. Watch Marie Kondo’s surprising and uplifting talk on how getting organized can transform your life, spark joy, and help you stay positive—even in difficult times.

Watch now

 

Behind the scenes: how 92Y’s most electric talks come together

Jimmy Page Jeff Koons

Sue Solomon is a familiar face to patrons who frequent our marquee events series, 92Y Talks. She’s the Senior Associate Director of the team who curates these one-of-a-kind evenings. Part of the magic, she says, is getting the chemistry between a guest speaker and a moderator right. And that means jumping on every opportunity.

“I was sitting in my office on a Friday afternoon, we had just got Jimmy Page, and we want someone good to moderate,” she recalls. “My phone rings, and it’s Jeff Koons asking for tickets. I say of course, and I hang up the phone, and I’m thinking … ‘Boy, that would be an interesting pairing.’ I shared the idea with Jimmy’s people and they loved it, so I went back to Jeff and said, ‘I have an idea—how would you feel about moderating? We’d love for you to do it, and so would Jimmy!’ Well, after thinking it over for a moment or two, he said yes, and so they had an absolutely marvelous talk about creativity, and that’s how it all came about.”

Watch now

 

Listen to Isabel Allende’s long-distance love story

Isabel Allende

Watch legendary writer Isabel Allende tell the story of meeting her husband after he heard her on NPR—the long-distance relationship that blossomed over the phone, the dinners they cooked over video chat, and more. From her conversation on our stage on January 23 this year.

Watch now

 

If these walls could talk …

KCH ghost light

As part of 92Y’s backstage team for 25 years, Walt Taylor worked thousands of shows in our Kaufmann Concert Hall—and he has quite the stories to tell. His “pinch-me” moment with Paul McCartney; getting pranked by Jerry Lewis; the time Joy Behar saved the day … We’re sharing some of his favorite memories, along with links to the some of the videos (where available) of the events.

Read more

 

Today I work from home

What do Aimee Mann, Gary Shteyngart, Lee Child and Jonathan Coulton have in common? They all contributed to a book we published with Xerox, Speaking of Work: A Story of Love, Suspense, and Paperclips (which you can download for free). We wanted to explore what would happen if writers and artists who have little in common collaborated remotely. Here’s Aimee Mann and Jonathan Coulton writing a song together.

Watch now

 

For some comic relief

Nick Kroll John Mulaney

Throwback to the time when humorous kibitzers Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland—actually the aged alter egos of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney—came to 92Y in character to talk with Willie Geist, and we found out why Gil and George have a Murphy bed.

Watch now

 

The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America

David Simon’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s masterpiece of alternative history aired last night on HBO. For background on the series, see what happened when Simon and cast members came to talk about the adaptation with Peter Sagal.

Watch now

Philip Roth graced our stage many times over the years. He gave his last public reading on May 8, 2014.

 

Gene Wilder on Willy Wonka Remake, Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, And More

Gene Wilder

One of our all-time favorite talks in Kaufmann Concert Hall was when Gene Wilder stopped by on June 13, 2013 for a rare conversation with Robert Osborne. To us, he’ll always be the real Willy Wonka.

Watch now

Rabbi Rubinstein’s Thought for the Day

Sun, Apr 5

This is a season of rebirth and messianic longing both for Christians and Jews.

We human beings sometimes yearn for unreasonable responses to our prayers. We ask for quick cures, a miraculous turn of improbable events, even world peace. In Judaism’s traditional framework that is what the “anointed one,” the Mashiach, the Messiah, is supposed to bring. Our tradition affirms that the Mashiah will be a descendant of King David and will be preceded by the prophet Elijah whom we will metaphorically (and virtually) welcome into our homes this coming Wednesday evening during the Passover Seder.

This is also the season of Holy Week and Easter, an occasion for Christians to reaffirm their own messianic longings for a better world.

I can’t imagine a more poignant time for us to rally our faith that things will get better.

In our own time the newest iteration of a messianic objective in Judaism is conceptualized as Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World). But none of us can repair this world by ourselves.

So, I suggest a more attainable personal objective. Rather than Tikkun Olam, let us each pursue Tikkun Ha-Nefesh, the healing of an individual soul in their time of need. With kindness and compassion we can make a difference in another person’s life with our words and actions. It may be a phone call to a friend with whom we have had no contact in years. It could be a word of gratitude to the mailman or sanitation worker or food deliverer for the efforts they are making on our behalf. It could be a meal for a first responder.

And when the time comes, some money for the beggar on the street, or clothes for the homeless in a shelter, or even a smile can make a difference for the person who is alone.

We have the power to better the lives of others through acts of intentional kindness. It is a chance for us to redeem that moment for them.

Hopefully we may heal many souls during this difficult time as we approach Passover and Easter. These celebrations are about rebirth and redemption. Let us celebrate them with our good works.

I wish you all much meaning, joy and good health in the week and celebrations ahead.

 

Thu, April 2

Note: Today’s Thought for the Day comes to us from Bronfman Center Director of Jewish Education Rabbi Samantha Frank.

Why Psalms? Why Now? Why Robert Alter’s translation?

Over the past few weeks, New Yorkers and people all over the world have made drastic lifestyle changes in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help save lives. We’re staying home, working from home, figuring out care for our children and our parents, supporting local businesses, and generally trying to rise to the challenges at hand. We have been forced to adapt, and have reckoned with headlines about a disease that grow scarier by the day. How does Jewish wisdom help us understand this difficult moment?

The book of Pslams, or T’hilim (praises, in Hebrew) is part of the Hebrew Bible, and has been used by Jews individually and by the Jewish community in moments of crisis. Most psalms are written in the first person, making them the perfect thing to read when we have a direct address to God or would like to personally process an emotion or experience. The psalms also cover a wide range of emotions, from gratitude and joy to fear, frustration, anger, and hope. Robert Alter’s translation makes this Hebrew wisdom accessible to English speakers–allowing us to experience the comfort that the Psalms provide at a time when we badly need it.

In Psalm 147:3-4, the psalmist (author) writes: “Healer of the broken hearted, he binds their painful wounds. He counts the number of the stars, to all of them gives names.” What more fitting balm could we read in these trying times? Even as we are physically distanced from one another, we are never truly alone. God takes account of each of us, and knows us all by name.

Each day, we do our best to follow the rules to keep ourselves and others safe. We worry about those who cannot safely distance, and those working in health centers and hospitals. We physically distance ourselves, but we don’t know when this period of isolation will end. It’s impossible to avoid moments of anger and frustration. For moments of anger and frustration heightened by our inability to hold close those whom we love, Psalm 88 reflects these feelings of fear and frustration: “You distanced my friends from me…Why, Lord, do you abandon my life, do you hide your face from me?” (V. 9, 15).

And while all of the moments of sadness and anger are real, they are not the entirety of our experience. We are still able to enjoy sun streaming through our windows, and our gratitude for our health makes us want to jump and dance for joy. For the moments of gratitude for all that we do have and are able to do, Psalm 150: “Praise Him with timbrel and dance, praise Him with strings and flute. Praise Him with sounding cymbals, praise Him with crashing cymbals. Let all that has breath praise Yah. Hallelujah!” (Vv. 4-6).

In particular, Alter’s translation of the Psalms from Biblical Hebrew to English enables us to experience the rhythm and sound as closely as we can to the way that the Psalmist imagined it. Psalms, after all, are not meant for personal and communal use alone, they are meant to be read and even sung aloud: reading the psalms ought to be a full aural experience. In this moment of communal trauma and challenge, reading psalms can ground us in the physicality of music, which reminds us that while we may be stuck inside, the world is not stagnant. Our lives are filled with harmony and dissonance, crescendoes of exuberant joy and moments of slowing down. Whenever possible, Alter's translation captures the rhythm, rhyme, meter, and structure—the musical dimension—of the original Hebrew.

We are blessed to have the book of Psalms, and Alter’s translation, right now. Within them is the entirety of human emotion. Like all great literature, though they were written long before our time, they can help us experience and process this moment. Reading psalms reminds us that though we may be socially distanced and living through a unique moment in human history, our ancestors experienced many of the same challenges and joys. For thousands of years, the human spirit has endured through isolation and challenge. Let us allow the wisdom of our tradition to guide us and act as connective tissue in the days ahead. Continue in good health, continue to be strong and courageous.

 

Sun, Mar 29

I was recently reminded of the lesson a beloved and gentle professor of mine taught about the Biblical prophets. He said their message was “Despair is a sin and hope is a duty.” Now, millennia later, this prophetic teaching emerges as an extraordinary lesson for us all. Among COVID-19’s collateral damage, hope should not be a victim.

Leo Baeck, a 20th century German theologian and scholar, called Judaism a religion of “ethical optimism.” What an amazing affirmation for a German Jew who had been deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Despite attempts to attain Baeck's freedom he chose to stay with his community in that concentration camp. He would not leave them in the time of their greatest despair. He knew he had to hear their stories, hold their hands and listen to their prayers. And he knew that his presence gave them hope.

I am not parochial regarding “eternal optimism.” I choose to believe “ethical optimism” is at the root of most of our religions and faiths. Optimism and its consequences bind us to each other. Though we can’t help but be realistic about the health challenges we presently face, let us hope and, perhaps, even pray for our own well-being, that of our family and friends and all humanity.

This is a time in which it would be best to be both realistic and hopeful and, as well, to envision better days ahead. This is also a time that demands the best of each of us as individuals. Decency, kindness and generosity of the spirit are defining elements of our character when we’re pressured or annoyed, preoccupied or angry. It defines how we behave in adversity.

Hope is our duty, a gift we can offer to each other and the human community in which we live. Above all, hope along with optimism is a gift we can give ourselves.

 

Sun, Mar 22

This is an unsettling time. Often, we’re exhausted by the end of the day, worn out by anxiety, hypersensitive to every cough we hear, and aware of every person on the street.

We know that we cannot be carelessly foolish or paralyzed by fear. We need to find calm for ourselves.

After the obliteration of his personal savings and his foundation’s endowment as a result of the Madoff scandal, Elie Wiesel was asked how he would respond to the spread of disease and poverty and government malfeasance worldwide. With his signature smile, Elie Wiesel answered, “With my two favorite words… ‘and yet.’”

“And yet” is the birth of comfort and optimism. There is war—and yet we envision peace. There is hurting—and yet we can heal. There is uncertainty—and yet we hold strong to our anchors. There is illness—and yet we believe there will be a cure. There is sadness and anxiety and worry—and yet we’re ready to be comforted and supported.

At the end of the prologue to his book Always Looking Up, Michael J. Fox concludes, “Sure it may be one step forward and two steps back, but after a time with Parkinson’s, I’ve learned that what is important is making that one step count, always looking up.”

If you’re willing to hear from those who have lived longer and have been through past tribulation, we can promise the truth of the Hebrew Gam zeh ya’avor. “This too will pass.” We don’t know how long it will take, but it will pass—and hopefully, on the other side, we’ll be sitting together again and then we will be able to give each other hugs, as I do you from my heart to yours.

“Adonoi oz l’amo yiteyn, adonoi y’vracheych et amo v’shalom.”

God gives strength to people and bless people with peace.

I hope we find and feel both.

Support us

Many of you have asked how you can help 92Y as we confront tremendous financial losses due to COVID-19. Your generous gift will help sustain our beloved institution and will also support the creation of new, online programming that will bring comfort and inspiration to our community.

Together, we will get through this. Thank you.

Please note that all 92Y regularly scheduled in-person programs are suspended.