Street pianos head to NYC

NYC will follow London and Sydney's lead and install a bunch of street pianos in public places where anyone can sit down and bang out some showtunes, Chopin, or Chopsticks. a pretty wonderful idea. New Yorkers are a talented bunch! Think of all the impromptu cabaret sessions that could come out of this! The project - actually called Play Me, I'm Yours - and its pianos are coming around from June 21st - July 5th. All the locations are here, Manhattan has 27 locations, but the pianos will be making their way around all five boroughs (from the Bronx Zoo to Flushing Meadows), so you'll likely cross paths with one at some point.
The Street Pianos are Coming: New York's Latest Public Art Experiment

(Image: A better class of busker? (mono), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mrs_logic's photostream)


  1. This reminds me of Danny Kean, the Traveling Piano Guy who has crisscrossed the USA and down into Mexico doing improvisation on his piano mounted on his truck and inviting others to play as well.

  2. That lad in York UK is a pretty awesome busker. Not since moving away do I realise I miss the odd sounds of a piano wafting through the narrow, cobbled streets!

    Odd that you pick a photo of a busker in York when it’s an article about London, Sydney and NYC :P

  3. Ooooo can’t wait!
    Us New Yorkers always need a dose of playfulness on the streets. There’s nothing like a bit of dramatic flair to snap one out of the grey humdrum of the streets.
    Thanks Play Me, I’m Yours!
    gros bisous

  4. I can imagine a bunch of people stopping and watching me play. Although I haven’t played in 14 years, so the looks may be looks of disgust.

  5. Cue ASCAP lawsuit for copyright royalties on public performances of copyrighted works in 5..4..3..

    (Or will these public pianos be limited to public domain music?)

    1. I was about to say the same thing… Hopefully they permit anyone to play anything they want.

  6. The outside air and sun is going to murder the tuning and corrode the strings very quickly. This is going to get expensive.

  7. now this, this is a wonderful thing.

    feel free to catch my woman n’ I performing all over queens during those weeks! Improvised duets, original songs, you name it!

  8. RE: ASCAP suing, the city could/should pay a licencing fee for providing the venue (much as bars and festivals do) then it would be up to the performing rights societies to distribute the fees as appropriate (they could do random polling/sampling to see what songs would be played). Not too complicated and insures the artists (at least some of them) get their meager rewards for writing songs that are being performed publically.

  9. Is that the “Play me, I’m yours” crew? I was in Bristol when they had the pianos all over the town there. That was really great.

    I even saw the tune-up guy in action. He drove up, hopped out, opened up the piano and went to work right there and then. Fifteen minutes later and off he goes again. What with those old clunkers being outdoors and all I imagine he made a daily tour or something like it.

    Anyway, best idea ever.

  10. This is all kinds of awesome. There needs to be a some kind of Gov. agency in charge of awesome, that would do this kind of stuff all over the country.

  11. Hah.

    And it’ll be twelve minutes after the first one is installed that the first street artist will permanently commandeer it.

  12. NYC already had at least one street piano. Through the 90s, there was a guy who kept a lidless concert grand parked in front of the old NYC Coliseum. On nights and weekends, he’d wheel it around Columbus Circle–near the subway, at the entrance to the underground movie theater, the dance studio–and play for money.

  13. I can’t tell you how many spontaneous dance parties I saw happening in London when they did this.
    Also mothers hanging out with young children letting them explore the instrument.
    This is one of the most worthwhile public art projects I’ve ever encountered. Looooove it.

  14. I cab forsee two separate kinds of problems – the first being desperate attention seekers. The other is theft.

  15. Yup, Denver’s got the piano’s out on 16th Street Mall this spring. I guess we’re up there with NYC and London!

  16. There were half a dozen installed in Sao Paulo last year

    It was an experience to be serenaded by a ragged junkie at 6am as I emerged from the metro. A regular ivory tickler in Santa Cecilia earned snacks and meals from street food vendors as he entertained and attracted customers.

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