92Y Grows Membership with Virtual Programs

The 92nd Street Y has grown its membership and audience far beyond New York City using Zoom, working through the pandemic to create unique, thoughtful, and revenue-generating programs.

“We’ve been able to invite hosts and performers who are not in New York City and had no plans to be here, from elected officials in D.C. to Michelin-starred chefs from around the world. We’ve succeeded by creating over 1,500 video programs that offer a sense of community, intimacy, and interactivity,” said Seth Pinsky, CEO of the 92nd Street Y. 

Pinsky said the cultural and community center had an “aha moment” in March 2020.

“We had to close our doors for in-person events. Within a week, we transitioned all of our programming to online. One of the performances held in the new format was a concert by pianist Jonathan Biss,” said Pinsky.

Pinsky said before the pandemic, the 92Y might sell 300 tickets for classical music concerts in its 900-seat auditorium. 

“When we offered access to Biss’s performance online, we saw the number of views rise to over 250,000. For our spring 2021 classical music season, we now have almost 700 subscribers,” said Pinsky. 

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen, the 92Y is exploring holding live events with small in-person audiences. 

Pinsky said the 92Y will continue to offer online programs during the recovery and beyond. It hopes to establish different tiers of pricing for viewers who attend online. 

“That way, we can maintain our new international patron base while also resuming the great in-person programming that we were able to do prior to the pandemic,” said Pinsky. 

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