By Merle Exit
Paul Raimonda Playground in Astoria served as an ideal location to host Sing for Hope’s seventh annual event, as the park had recently undergone renovations to include a spray shower in the shape of a baby grand piano dedicated to the Steinway and Sons factory located a few blocks away.
As of June 4, 51 artistically painted pianos have popped up across New York City. Of those 51, 11 are located in parks, public spaces and other high traffic outdoor locations of Queens and are available to anyone interested in tickling the ivories through June 24.
After the event, the pianos will get permanent homes in 50 public schools. These brightly colored and patterned pianos were painted by artists from around the world, each instrument featuring its own message.
Broadway shows took part this year with the casts from “Kinky Boots,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Wicked” and “The Play That Goes Wrong,” each painting a piano. Paul Raimonda Playground was the recipient of the “The Play That Goes Wrong,” along with the message that just because everything’s going wrong doesn’t mean something beautiful can’t come from it.
For the first time ever, Sing for Hope has teamed up with MINI USA for #DrivingHope, a partnership motivated by their shared passion for bringing creativity to communities. MINI USA is the title sponsor of the Sing for Hope pianos. They have created a one-of-a-kind piano on wheels called the #MINIPiano. This 51st piano has a specially designed and modified MINI Countryman that has been outfitted with a keyboard, sound system, and brightly colored exterior.
“MINI is pleased to partner with Sing for Hope in its important mission, bringing even more music, more art, more spontaneous moments of community to every corner of NYC with our unique mobile #MINIPiano,” said Lee Nadler, the regional marketing manager for MINI USA. “MINI wants to leverage its creativity to enhance city life, and we are excited to amplify the great work that Sing for Hope is doing by expanding the reach of music throughout the five boroughs via the #MINIPiano.”
Those interested in stopping by can schedule time at any one of the pianos in New York City and perhaps bring other instruments, or even singers, to accompany them.
Paul Raimonda Playground is located at 20th Avenue between 47th Street and 48th Street and is open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other locations that will house pianos include: Astoria Park (located at 21st Street near the tennis courts; open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.); Flushing Town Hall (located at 137-35 Northern Blvd.; open every day from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.); Gantry Plaza State Park (located at 4-09 47th Rd.; open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.); Jamaica Hospital (located at 8900 Van Wyck Expressway; open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.); Kaufman Arts District (located at 34-12 36th St.; open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.); Queens County Farm Museum, (located at 73-50 Little Neck Parkway; open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Rockaway Park (located at the Boardwalk at 86th Street; open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.); Roy Wilkins Recreation Center (located at 177-01 Baisley Blvd.; open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.); Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park (open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.); and Yellowstone Park (located at 68th Avenue and Yellowstone Boulevard; open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
Later this year, the 2018 Sing for Hope pianos will be placed in permanent homes at Sing for Hope’s “Citizen Artist Schools,” including these schools Queens: PS 64 (82-01 101st Ave. in Ozone Park); PS197 (825 Hicksville Road in Far Rockaway); IS 10 (45-11 31st Ave. in Long Island City); PS 175Q (64-35 102nd St. in Rego Park); PS 181 (148-15 230th St. in Springfield Gardens); Flushing High School (35-01 Union St. in Flushing); and Louis Armstrong Middle School (32-02 Junction Blvd. in East Elmhurst).