Facing the music: Busted Sunset Park piano hauled off

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Somebody tickled these ivories a bit too hard.

An overzealous pianist busted a brightly painted piano placed in Sunset Park as part of a public art project. The eye-catching instrument had to be hauled away for repairs on June 21, a little less than a week ahead of schedule. It’s unfortunate but not entirely off-key, said the head of the group that helped bring the piano to the park.

“It’s sad because it was really popular. Unfortunately, I think they were excited to play the piano and didn’t realize why it was locked and broke it by mistake,” said Renee Giordano, head of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District. “I don’t think it was done on purpose. I think they just really want to play it.”

The piano is one of more than a dozen that popped up on sidewalks and in parks across the borough this month, inviting budding musicians who might not have access to a pricey piano to strike a chord as part of the Sing for Hope public art project.

Each night at 9 pm Cathy Williams with the business improvement district would latch the piano shut and shield it from the elements with a tarp, opening it back up to public come 9 am the next morning.

But some eager piano player tried to pry open the locked latch and ended up unhinging a slat of wood covering the keys. It’s a bummer to those who have enjoyed making music in the park these last few weeks, said one would-be musician.

“It’s too bad that this happened because I was coming out here with my daughter and teaching her how to play,” said Jose Figueroa, who had swung by to play with his 7-year-old daughter Ivelisse a few times. “It added a little something special to the park. I hope they bring it back.”

The piano was set to stay in the green until June 25, when it would be donated to a public school. Now Sing for Hope have removed the instrument for repairs before shipping it off to a local school.

Sunset Park has snagged a painted piano as part of the project for a handful of years, but this is the first time a worked-up park-goer stopped the music, and it’s unclear if another polka dot piano will visit the park, said Giordano.

“I’ll have to look into it,” said Renee Giordano. “I keep getting torn because it was so popular, but you know, you have a piano sitting out — it makes a great target.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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