UPDATE: NY1 has confirmed that the stage in Greenpoint is under construction for the 2020 MTV VMAs.
It’s that time of year again when you might remember that MTV is still a TV channel with an annual awards ceremony. For Greenpoint residents living near the waterfront the reminder this weekend may also come with the in-person spectacle of the Video Music Awards‘ signature live performances.
Speculation is growing that a gigantic stage currently under construction at the former Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse lot — which this summer is home to a drive-in cinema and a weekend market — will host at least some of the award shows’ musical acts. This year’s MTV VMAs lineup includes Ariana Grande, the Black Eyed Peas, BTS, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and The Weeknd. The event will also air live on MTV’s website on Sunday August 30, starting at 8 p.m.
Multiple residents of Greenpoint Terminal-adjacent apartments sent Greenpointers images of a large stage with an impressive array of lights going up at 1 Oak St. this past weekend while the Terminal Market was closed ‘for a private event.’ Construction was still underway on Monday afternoon and a sign near the West Street entrance instructs guests to check-in and get screened (presumably for COVID symptoms).
The original plan for the 2020 MTV VMAs was for the ceremony to film audience-less at the Barclays Center, but the decision was made to move the event outdoors in NYC, Rolling Stone reports.
“In close consultation with state and local health officials, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event,” an MTV spokesperson tells Rolling Stone. “The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021.”
Greenpoint Terminal Market will be open at the lot again this Saturday and Sunday, but the market closes at 5 p.m. and the VMAs are planned to tape without an audience.
VMA performers will be granted special permission from NY state to forgo the mandatory 14 day quarantine, according to the NY Post:
They can “participate in the production of the show,” a spokeswoman for Cuomo said, “but they will only interact with other members of the cast and crew and will quarantine when not working.”
To receive the exemption, the VMAs agreed to police itself with “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”
MTV is hosting the VMAs down the block from me in Greenpoint. They are setting it up in 1 week and have rapid testing ready to go. Meanwhile, NYC had all spring and summer and can’t manage to safely reopen schools. pic.twitter.com/pY4ejxx0cT— Stu Sherman, JD MPH (@stu_sherman) August 23, 2020
Filming has taken place on the 1 Oak St. lot before with productions such as Saturday Night Live utilizing the ideal East River waterfront location.