NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fifty pianos have been put on display across New York City, in an arts movement that has returned for another year.
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Friday, the pianos blend right in among the features of the urban landscape.
The usual soundtrack of Times Square includes car horns, sirens, and general chaos. But somehow, it all seems to fade away with a little classical piano music.
“I didn’t feel anything around me,” one woman said after playing the brightly painted upright piano set up in Times Square. “It was a very nice feeling.”
It is not easy to block out the atmosphere at the Crossroads of the World. But music turned out to be the universal language.
The woman who spoke to CBS2 about the “very nice feeling” was playing a Persian song. Another man who was playing was visiting from Mexico.
So what struck a chord with so many people?
“Music is usually deemed as something that’s really inaccessible, so we put it right at their fingertips,” said Lester Vrtiak, the pianos project leader for the group Sing for Hope.
Pianos have been securely placed all around the five boroughs by Sing for Hope. They are open to anyone who wants to play.
“These pianos are all painted by volunteer artists,” Vrtiak said. “They volunteer their time and talent. They spend months and months.”
Sheet music is readily available, and you may notice names on the keys – representing those who donated.
And even if you don’t know how to play the piano, you can just come over and sing along – or just enjoy the music.”
And plenty of people were doing just that in Times Square. Two men were seen joining in a jaunty rendition of “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
“I was actually just coming out on a lunch break, you know?” said the man who joined in to sing. “I saw the piano, and I’m smiling now.”
“The Sing for Hope pianos are the perfect lullaby for the city that never sleeps,” said the man who picked “Grenade” to play.
Should it rain, there are tarps to cover the pianos. They will be out for two weeks, and after that, they will be donated to schools, hospitals, and other organizations.
This is the fourth year for the pianos.