Pianos pop up in public places for people to play

By Bill Parry

Pianos are popping up in various locations around the borough, including the Kaufman Arts District in Astoria, LIC Landing by Coffeed in Hunters Point South Park, the Jackson Heights Post Office, Flushing Town Hall and the Unisphere at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. The public is invited to twinkle the ivories in an effort to promote arts programming.

The non-profit Sing for Hope distributed 88 of the pianos, each with its own design from an artist or designer, around the five boroughs, inviting anyone and everyone to play through June 21. Then each of the pianos will be donated to a school, healthcare facility or community organization in need.

“We are delighted to bring back the Sing for Hope pianos this year,” Sing for Hope co-founders Monica Yunas and Camille Zamora said in a statement. “It’s truly special to witness the spontaneous moments of community that occur around these beautiful, interactive works of art.”

The Manhattan-based group envisions a world in which the arts are accessible to all. They have outreach programs powered by 1,500 volunteers—including opera singers, actors, jazz musicians, dancers, puppeteers and visual artists—to serve everyone from school children to healthcare patients to seniors in under-sourced communities.

Each piano has a tarpaulin attached to protect it from the elements and a mobile crew travels to each location to keep the instrument in tune. Sing for Hope estimates that it reaches 2 million New Yorkers and visitors every year and hopes to make it an annual event.

“I believe we have a responsibility and a built-in urge to use our talents and innate gifts to help improve the lives of the less fortunate,” 2006 Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus said. “Sing for Hope Volunteer Artists do this every. I am inspired by this work and proud to be a part of an organization that transforms the lives of under-served New Yorkers on a daily basis.”

Other members of the Sing for Hope Board of Trustees include Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York