SummerStage kicks off in Central Park featuring Wynton Marsalis, Lincoln Center Orchestra

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- The sound of jazz filled the air in Central Park with SummerStage kicking off Thursday night -- part of the city's reopening efforts as it rebounds from the COVID pandemic.

Big, brassy, bold toe tapping music could be heard on a night so bright, you had to lower the shades even as the sun set behind the trees.

After a year of excruciating silence, CityParks SummerStage returned to Central Park with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

COVID still raged across the nation when they decided to bring CityParks SummerStage back this year, so capacity is just a fraction of normal times and that means plenty of room for distancing.

"I think people will be more comfortable. We'll be able to increase," said Heather Lubov of CityParks SummerStage.

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Immersive Van Gogh, an immersive art installation that has already toured in Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco, is set to officially open in New York City on June 10.

It does appear to be moving in that direction.

There are more than 20 concerts already scheduled in the parks this summer, all of them free as always, and they may increase capacity as folks start to feel more comfortable.

But they were pretty comfortable in Central Park tonight.

"New York is open again, New York is back," one concertgoer said.

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