NEW YORK CITY (WABC Local TV affiliate) — Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and iHeartMedia joined together with New York television and radio stations to air a citywide “virtual telethon” Monday night.
Actress and comedian Tina Fey, who hosted the special announced that $115 million was raised. The one-hour special, simulcast on stations, including ABC Channel 7, featured performances from New York-Area based superstars, including Billy Joel, Mariah Carey and Bon Jovi.
“Our city is under attack, but we’ve been here before,” Robert De Niro said. “In the last 20 years, both 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. You can take your best shot but you cannot break our spirit.” The one-hour benefit was presented by the New York-based poverty fighting organization, Robin Hood, and iHeartMedia. Robin Hood said all the donations will provide support for food, shelter, cash assistance, mental health, legal services and education.
Mariah Carey performed her 1992 song “Make It Happen.” She sang while her backup singers and pianist performed on separate screens to the upbeat tune. “We can make it through this together,” Carey said.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cynthia Erivo, Idina Menzel, Ben Platt and others performed a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s classic song “New York, New York.” Jennifer Lopez introduced PS22 Chorus, a collection of New York elementary school students who sang Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” “New York, I know your strength,” said Lopez, a New York native.
Spike Lee shared encouraging words that sports would return someday soon. Streisand and Audra McDonald showed the same optimism about New York City’s Theater District coming back “stronger than ever” after being closed due to the pandemic lockdown.
New York Giants greats including Strahan, Eli Manning, Phil Simms and Justin Tuck announced an opportunity through a sweepstakes for one fan to play a game of touch football with the players in their own backyard and get a Super Bowl ring. The winner of the sweepstakes and three friends will have a chance to play against the players.
Other musical performances included Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” “Nobody comes to New York to be alone, I certainly didn’t,” admitted the rocker, dressed in a plain white T-shirt. “But even if you’re in self-isolation, you are not alone. We’re all in this together; we’ll make it through together.” He then launched into his hit song “Message in a Bottle” — a song whose theme is quite fitting for the loneliness many are feeling as they have sheltered in place for weeks.
Also featured Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” “This crisis has created more need and suffering than our food pantries and our food banks can handle,” said Jon Bon Jovi, dressed in jeans and a slick black leather jacket. “Like I’ve always said, it doesn’t take a scientist to find a cure. We can feed millions of hungry New Yorkers if we step up right now.” He then launched into a haunting, slower acoustic version of “It’s My Life.” Like the other performers, Bon Jovi was socially distanced, with each member appearing in their own video screens.
Billy Joel The Piano Man performed “Miami 2017,” which appeared on 13 billboards in Times Square and lit up theEmpire State Building. A really magnificent closing of the performances with this tear jerking salute for everything that’s great about this legendary town and its resilience. At the end of his performance, Joel urged everyone to be healthy. “Stay strong, New York,” he said. “Please wear a mask, and that way, you won’t catch any s–t from anybody.”
Total Running Time 59 Minutes