Street Pianos NYC: Luke Jerram’s Play Me, I’m Yours
No surprise, after only one afternoon and six sightings, we already love Luke Jerram's Street Pianos NYC, a five-borough, interactive public art project, also known as Play Me I'm Yours. The concept here is simple and totally great: put 60 pianos, some elaborately painted, others not, in public places all around New York City, and see–or, more important, hear–what happens. So far, from what little we've witnessed, what happens is lots of laughing, singing, playing (from random cacophonous bangs to stop-dead-in-your-tracks brilliance), silliness, fun.
Some of the things we saw yesterday:
At the Astor Place Street Piano, a band called Jukebox and the Ghost rolled up and belted out a few tunes, a part of their "five-borough tour" to be conducted all in one day. The crowd, perhaps a bit amped from the nearby Mud Truck's iced coffee, loudly cheered the scruffy, raucous performance.
At the Abe Lebewohl Park Street Piano in the East Village, a young woman serenaded the fruit and veggie shoppers at the weekly greenmarket there with a lovely rendition of As Time Goes By.
The threat of late afternoon rain allowed us to see the Luke Jerram Street Pianos NYC buddy system in action, as the somewhat forlorn Gansevoort Plaza piano was tarped up. Each of the 60 pianos, it seems, has a designated buddy, who's in charge of unlocking (at 9:00 a.m.) and locking (at 10:00 p.m.) the keyboard each day, and covering with an attached tarp at any time, in case of rain.
A lively, impromptu sing-along was creating quite a scene at the Madison Square Park Street Piano, located within the playground in the northeast corner.
The Luke Jerram Street Piano in the Chelsea Market–located towards the 11th Avenue entrance, next to the excellent L'arte del Gelato counter–was actually being tuned when we arrived! The piano tuner told us that he's in charge of tuning all 60 pianos, and plans on servicing each one three times during the project's two-week run. He also revealed that the best piano of all 60 is the one at City Hall. Figures!
Street Pianos NYC: Luke Jerram's Play Me, I'm Yours Details
The 60 Luke Jerram Street Pianos are located in all five boroughs, and are open each day from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., from now through Monday, July 5. There is a similar, simultaneous project going on in London, too, in case you're hopping the pond in the next two weeks. For more information and a list of all 60 piano locations, please see the Street Pianos 2010 website.