Nate Palan is a musician and songwriter who has seized the quarantined moment to help entertain his neighbors from his Greenpoint apartment balcony. With the help of his acoustic guitar and a memorized songbook of covers, the courtyard of Palan’s building transforms into a sort of outdoor concert venue:”It’s the most convenient travel gig I’ve ever had. I can just open up my front door and my stage is right there,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Greenpointers posted footage of Palan’s children’s singalong performance sent in by his neighbors along the northernmost stretch of Greenpoint. As both a part-time children’s music instructor and event performer with his band The Last Nites, the progression to balcony performer during New York’s pause has been natural: “I have a neighbor that lives a couple of floors down whose daughter attends my music classes and she loves the kids’ version, so she said ‘we should do a happy hour for the adults sometime soon.'”
Following the now-routine 7 p.m. ‘thank you’ cheer for health care and essential workers last Sunday night, Palan set-up on his balcony and started an acoustic set with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by timely covers of R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World” and The Ramones’ “I wanna be Sedated.”
Palan says that the feedback from his neighbors on the quarantine performances is largely positive: “I was hesitant to do it even in the first place because I didn’t want to be a nuisance.”
With 12 years under his belt as a New York City resident, Palan, who is originally from Wisconsin, has lived in Greenoint for the past year after relocating from the Upper West Side: “The second we moved to Greenpoint it felt like we we’re going to our home.” he said.
Under the stage name Waylan Daniel, Palan performs a weekly set live on Facebook every Saturday at 7 p.m. which will continue during the pandemic, unlike his band’s canceled wedding gigs: “It’s been really heartbreaking having to talk with these couples that spend a-year-and-a-half planning the big day, and now they have to tell all their friends and family they have to postpone it.”
As all large gatherings are on hold, Palan says that he’s concerned for the immediate future of performing artists and the state of the economy as a whole. “We’re really at the mercy of people. And also knowing that we’re not the only ones that have lost their jobs, we’re really nervous about the future,” Palan said in regards to his band’s outlook.
When the time is right again, Palan’s neighbors can expect another set to help lighten the collective mood: “Since I don’t have to worry about people in the neighborhood being anywhere else, I feel pretty confident that whenever it seems like the right time do it, I can go outside and everybody’s gonna be there.”