Photo by Paula Lobo

With pianos popping up all over New York City due to the new public art installation “Play Me, I’m Yours,” one of our all-time favorite New Yorkers is getting some recognition from the Wall Street Journal! The “Crazy Piano Guy” (a.k.a. Colin Huggins) talks about how the gift of piano storage means he can keep making beautiful music for passersby, like Lucy Liu.

Piano Storage, NYC Crowds, and Lucy Liu

As the WSJ’s article mentions, British artist Luke Jerram is placing sixty pianos throughout the five boroughs, part of an international exhibit “questioning the ownership and rules of public space.” As a classically trained pianist and also the former music director at The Joffrey Ballet, Colin has been pushing the boundaries of public space and music for years now. In the interview, he talks about playing for fans like Lucy Liu in public parks like Washington Square, as well as the ups and downs of piano moving and storage.

“Usually when people ask this I flex my bicep and say, “Does this answer your question?” But for the record [I use]…moving equipment. It’s a one man show. I have two dollies. I move the baby grand on its side, legs off, two dollies underneath, held tight with a ratcheting strap. It’s like pushing around a big shopping cart. I have one sponsor: Manhattan Mini Storage. In exchange for putting their sticker on my piano and an ad on the back of my card I get free storage. They’ve been an amazing help to me.”

So actually, and as we mentioned last fall in our Exclusive Interview with the Crazy Piano Guy, there aren’t really any downsides of piano storage for Colin! It safe, convenient, and best of all – free! And for us, well we like to think in some way we’re offering a contribution to keeping the unique street musician culture and spirit of New York City’s public art alive and vibrant in the best way we know how.

Next week, Jerram packs up his pianos for the next city on his list but Colin will still be tickling the ivories for NYC crowds – though if you don’t see him around every day this summer, here’s a clue where he might be:

“Sometimes I go to the storage unit after doing it for five days or so and, after one look at the piano, go see a movie instead.”

Yeah, we hear Toy Story 3 has a great score!


Play Me, I’m Yours is in New York City through July 5. Visit Colin’s website for a schedule of his upcoming performances.