The pandemic hardships of New York concert workers


Weather: Mainly sunny, with a risk of a late thunderstorm. High in the 90s, but it might look like it’s up to 105. Expect a stormy Saturday; Raised in the mid 80s. More of the same Sunday, but cooler.

Parking on the alternative side: In effect until Monday (Eid al-Adha).

Pedro Acosta “begged for food” in a pantry near his home in Brooklyn last year, for the first time in his professional life.

He drove for Uber for a long time. But Mr Acosta, 53, was off work for two months after contracting the coronavirus and developing respiratory problems, leaving his family with financial difficulties.

For many New Yorkers, certain services have become more essential during the height of the pandemic: Parcel deliveries have increased and ridesharing apps have been used in favor of public transport for fear of the virus. Many ordered meals from their apartment buildings more often to avoid leaving their homes.

But many concert workers behind these services, like Mr Acosta, a married father of six, were much more likely than regular workers to have suffered from health and financial problems during the pandemic.

[Read more about the challenges facing gig workers and the efforts to address them.]

Here’s what you need to know:

As New Yorkers have lost their jobs in restaurants, shops and construction due to the pandemic, some have turned to work for money. Many of those who work for app-based services like UberEats, DoorDash, and Lyft earn less than half the city’s minimum wage – $ 15 an hour – and can’t pay rent or other expenses, according to worker surveys.

Many are immigrants, many of whom are undocumented, who feel they have few other options, surveys show. As the pandemic set in, concert workers said they faced several hardships, including food and housing insecurity, at higher rates than regular employees.

A DoorDash spokeswoman called the survey results “false and misleading” and added that “Nationally, Dashers are making over $ 25 per hour they deliver and $ 33 per hour in Manhattan “.

Working conditions in application-based services have been the subject of debate in New York and across the country.

A set of bills pending in city council would offer several protections for delivery people, including a minimum wage and faster payment from apps, my colleague Patrick McGeehan reported.

Some efforts in New York and elsewhere to try to force app-based companies to classify their drivers as employees, qualifying them for all the benefits regular employees receive, like paid sick leave.

But some concert workers are not sure their situation would improve if they were reclassified as employees, with bosses setting their schedules. “I love being an independent contractor and I will fight for it,” Mr. Acosta told Mr. McGeehan.

Melissa Guerrero of The Times writes:

While people are still connecting through virtual events and programs, with the summer season here and more people getting vaccinated, sites and organizations are hosting in-person events. Here are some suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend:

At Friday at 8:30 p.m., watch a screening of the animated film “Interstella 5555, The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem” in Washington Square Park in Manhattan as part of the Films on the Green festival.

For more information, visit the event page.

Join poet and teacher Paul con Queso for a poetry workshop exploring the body through sensory poetry writing exercises on Saturday at 1 p.m.

RSVP for free on the event page.

At Sunday at 2 p.m. in Brooklyn Museum Square, attend a free performance by the string musicians of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra.

Visit the event page for more information.

It’s Friday – reconnect with someone.

Dear Diary:

I was walking towards the East Village from my apartment in the West Village. I had $ 10 in my name and was hungry for Indian food.

Right after Washington Square Park, I ran into a guy who was sitting on the sidewalk with a guitar. He had an upturned hat with a few coins in it. He was in between songs and wore a faded gray T-shirt that read “The Clash” in barely legible letters.

On a whim, I sang (badly) the opening lines of “Something About England” by Mick Jones from “Sandinista”.

“It is said that immigrants steal the hubcaps of respected gentlemen. They say it would be wine and roses if England were for the English again.

He looked up and sang a few lines from Joe Strummer later in the song, “I missed the War of the Fourteen and Eighteen, but not the heartache afterwards.” With my father dead, my mother ran away, my brothers paid for balaclavas.

People were passing. He continued to sing, mixing up the lyrics as he went along, but compressing them anyway. (It’s okay, I thought. Strummer did too.)

When he finished singing, he muted his strings, waiting for me to come back.

I sang the last lines of Jones.

He looked up and nodded at me.

“Nice work, Mick,” he said.

“You too, Joe,” I said, leaning over to put the $ 10 I planned to spend on Indian food in his hat before continuing on my way.

– Doug Sylver

Illustrated by Agnès Lee. Read more about the metropolitan agenda here.

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