Michael Garin at The Roxy

In this time of extended quarantine, many of us are beginning to cope. Technology allows us to order things and share things. Yet, it feels as if we had never fully taken advantage of it before.

I, for one, sometimes neglected technology in favor of packing my calendar full of interesting events, but this virus has changed things. I had the day off on Friday and instead of filling the hours of 8 to 5 with the technological lingo of my day job, I started hopping around into different Instagram Lives. That’s when I found a shimmering gem.

The Roxy, a hotel that I’ve visited on numerous occasions and even hosted friends in, had gone Live. Curious, I tapped my screen and tuned in.

I was greeted by a black and white filtered screen where a pianist sat before his instrument, smiling and saying a few words to his virtual audience. Behind him was a bookshelf full of books and a few knickknacks, revealing that he, like us, was likely in his home. He dressed, however, as if he were spending the evening performing at the hotel. He wore a vest and smart glasses, entirely put together unlike his pajama-clad audience.

Then, he began to play.

The piano before him erupted into a pleasing chorus of musical notes as he blended one song into the next, jumping from sultry Brazilian tunes to Queen and Bowie. He did so with a smile, throwing in some Shaggy and even a bit of Beyoncé. Between songs, he cracked jokes and kept a smile in his eyes. He spoke of bringing happiness to people in this time, and he certainly delivered.

His skill was one thing, but the emotion was quite another. The Live turned magical, with people dancing from their respective living rooms and mentioning it in the chat. Songs were requested. The clapping emoji was frequently used. A stream of hearts danced across the screen.

It was a revolution in the way that technology could be used. It proved that, in now desolate ghost town New York City, there is hope.

At 7pm, the pianist, now known to me as Michael Garin, ended his brillant performance with a crescendo on the keys before instructing us to go to our windows and clap for the first responders. It was that time.

I opened my window and clapped, certain that I would continue to tune in.

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