'New York, New York' rings out across Big Apple to honor medical workers

New York (AFP) –


New Yorkers usually clap, bang pots and pans, or simply cry "thank you" out of their windows every evening at 7 pm, honoring the health care workers risking their lives on the frontlines of the battle against the coronavirus.

But the evening's ritual does vary. On Thursday, a volunteer choir called "Peace of the Heart" led thousands singing "New York, New York," the beloved song made famous by Frank Sinatra.

That classic echoed across neighborhoods for roughly ten minutes, coming out of windows and balconies, according to people posting on Facebook and other social media.

"It's iconic, it's New York," said Robert Hornsby, fund-raising director of "Peace of Heart" about why they picked the song, "and it has a great message about getting out of it."

He added: "it is beloved, it is well known, and if you just don’t know the words, you can just repeat the parts you do know."

Streamed through the choir's Facebook page, New Yorkers could sing along or simply play the music out of their windows and from their balconies.

Vivian Young, who lives on First Avenue with her husband and two children, said from behind a mask that the everyday tribute to nurses, doctors and other health care professionals improves morale.

"It's something you look forward to at the end of the day, instead of watching all the bad news," she added.

Her husband Mark, 49, said he hoped America's economic capital had turned a corner, citing the latest death figures and declining hospital admissions.

"I think you are going to see the markets rebound. People will want to be outside. They will fight to get a table at restaurants," he said. "Hopefully, I am right."

Yet, the ritual will continue for now. Although COVID-19 appears to have stabilized in the state -- after more than 213,000 infections and over 11,500 deaths -- governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he would prolong confinement measures in place across New York City for another month.