Manhattan Couple Throws Socially Distant Block Party From Their Balcony

Erich and Valentine Carey live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and since they have been on lockdown due to COVID-19, the couple sets up their soundsystem on their balcony for a block party every night.

The city that never sleeps has been asked to take a nap amid the coronavirus pandemic, but one Manhattan couple is hoping to lift some spirits in their neighborhood each night. 

Erich and Valentine Carey live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and since they have been on lockdown due to COVID-19, each night at 6 p.m. the couple sets up their sound system on their balcony and blasts music for neighbors. The neighbors in turn dance and sing along in their nearby apartments, on the sidewalks, from fire escapes and across balconies of their own. 

“It is incumbent on us as New Yorkers to really embrace [community],” Erich said. 

The idea originated a week earlier after a neighbor played music on a tiny bluetooth speaker and got others outside who began dancing and singing. Erich, an attorney and a musician, was inspired to pull out his amplifiers and take the party up a notch. 

“I think people really like the positive message and community and unity that music brings,” Valentine, who is also an attorney, told “We are trying to get as much joy as we can get during this isolating time.”

The party started with just a handful of people on the first night, but has since grown. 

“It is a lot of fun, I think we are entitled to that,” Erich said. “My dad always said, ‘everyday is precious,’ and even though we are living in strange times in keeping social distance and being in quarantine and staying at home, it is important to enjoy every day.” 

“It is a great way to look forward to something in the day and set a marker and get people out at a certain time,” Valentine added. “Working from home I think you can lose the sense of time and even the day but people really seem to look forward to coming out every day at 6 p.m.” 

The couple’s playlist includes positive jams like Bob Marley’s “One Love,” Donna Summer’s “I Will Survive,” The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love,” to New York anthems, like Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” Frank Sinatra’s “New York,” and KISS’ “Back in the New York Groove.” 

“It is good to fill the street with song and see some waves, see some smiles, see some dancing,” he said. 

Erich, who is the grandson of former New York City Governor Hugh Carey, said his grandpa was in office during a trying time for New York City. Hugh Carey in turn helped launch the “I Love New York” campaign.

Erich believes that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s current take “I Love New York Because New York Loves You,” is more than fitting for these peculiar times. 

“Never more so than right now do we need that spirit of ‘I Love New York,’” Erich declared. 

As New York becomes the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., the couple sang the praises of medical workers and delivery workers who have been keeping essential operations working and keeping safety. 

“It is really important to remember that New Yorkers are tough and we have been through so much already and we can persevere through anything if we try,” Valentine added.