Occasionally, often at inconvenient, unexpected or irksome times, we happen upon magic. It happened again Tuesday night. I was in New York City to visit my daughter, Lexi. It was late for a weeknight dinner—close to 9. Lexi, her beau, Ryan, and I were hungry, tired, and wanting dinner. It was one of those evenings after a long day for all of us: I had just ridden in on the train from Baltimore, after spending a delightful few days with my writer bud, Barb Crispin, racing through the ALA Convention in Washington, DC; Lexi had put in a hard day at the office; as had Ryan, who’d been up and at it since 5: 30. If we were smart, we would have ordered in. But it was a spring on the brink of summer eve where everyone on the streets seemed joyful. Pretty girls in short, flirty skirts and tall shoes pranced; suited men with ties fluttering had bounce in their step--a night begging to be enjoyed--a "Puck" night.
We chose Italian, because there are several al fresco cafes on 6th Ave between Bleeker and Spring, and agreed to meet there. Unfortuanately for us, everyone else was similarly possessed. Every café with open air seating was packed with waiting lines, more aptly, rings of anxious diners hovering, willing those at tables to “shut up, eat up and leave so we can have your spot.” Ryan and Lexi arrived before me. They were sitting on a bench, motioning at me with their cell phones and eyebrows raised in that “we’ve been calling you, why didn’t you pick up” way. I was rushing toward them when it happened.
The piano caught my attention immediately. Angled jauntily, splashed with Technicolor it beckoned “Play Me I’m Yours!” and they did! Everyone who had ever taken a piano lesson, or banged out Chopsticks, stopped to tickle the ivories—Magic!
The piano is one of 60 mysteriously deposited all over New York City by Sing For Hope, “an ‘artists’ peace corps’ that mobilizes more than 600 professional artists in our volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals and communities.” From 9am-10pm each day, June 21-July 5, 60 pianos are/were scattered throughout NYC, inviting passersby to play a ditty.
“Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram who has been touring the project globally since 2008. (He’s posted a street piano webcam viewed through his website: http://www.lukejerram.com/ site.)
If you’re in NYC, you have one more day to experience this musical magic in person. And, thanks to that tech magic called Internet, Play Me I’m Yours videos, stories and photos can enthrall us all. Click on: http://www.streetpianos.com/nyc2010/
This musical magic continues! 20 pianos strong, Play Me I’m Yours hits Grand Rapids on September 22nd—where else?????
Magic Happens…. Keep your eyes and ears open!