The music world took over New York last Saturday with more than 1,300 concerts held citywide as part of the annual Make Music New York (MMNY) festival, a free, music celebration that has taken place on the summer solstice each year since 2007.
Over two dozen MMNY concerts were put on in North Brooklyn during the celebration. Since the festival’s inception, the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint have seen a rapid increase in venues and bands playing, as these neighborhoods have increasingly become a haven for the artistically inclined.
“Since our very first festival in 2007, North Brooklyn has been one of our most happening neighborhoods for Make Music New York,” said Clara Schuhmacher, a representative for Make Music New York. “It’s not surprising: with so many musicians both young and old! A strong creative community and a strong cultural community, it’s only natural that people would come out.”
The Greenpoint YMCA hosted two musical acts in front of its Meserole Avenue building with chairs and tables set up on the sidewalk for casual passersby to partake in the festivities.
Greenpoint-based alternative folk-pop singer Lily Virginia was one of the Y’s performers. Raised in California, and having studied music in Argentina and Brazil, Virginia’s music is influenced by bands like Florence + The Machine, Bon Iver, and Fleetwood Mac, and brings together elements of Americana, rock and pop in her music.
“It’s the same if I’m whispering a lullaby, humming something catchy or reaching into a gritty part of myself,” said Virginia. “It’s always been about singing a story, being honest, and connecting with something spiritual.”
Keith Hicks, the Executive Director at the Greenpoint YMCA, hopes MMNY will be a launching pad for future musical performances. “The Make Music New York event is perfect for the artistic community of Greenpoint,” he said. “Members, guests as well as those just passing by seemed to appreciate the soothing music that was performed today. We look forward to showcasing different performers throughout the summer at the Greenpoint YMCA.”
Another local band performing on Saturday was Steal the Thief, which played at Over the Eight.
Dominick Lafuira, the band’s co-founder and bassist comes from a family of musicians going back to his grandfather, and in turn the band’s musical influences range far and wide.
“We are all friends in the band, and we like switching up the instruments we play,” said Lafuira. “It went really well on Saturday and it was great to see that a lot of people came out to support us.”
Other venues in the neighborhood hosting MMNY concerts included American Playground, Jimmy’s, Milk and Roses and Cato’s Army & Navy.
As the sun set on the longest day of the year, the musicians and their fans were already getting excited to see MMNY return in full force again next summer.