The Piano Keys of Cranford – Let’s Tickle the Ivories This Sumer
By Gabe Bailer – NJ Urbanthinker
March 6th, 2016
My past articles have focused a lot on the great things and rich history of Cranford but I had a thought on how to make this town even better. What if we were to install public piano(s) in Eastman Plaza Park and/or Post Office Park? This would be a great musical centerpiece to the community. Anyone would be welcome to come and play. The town could even arrange to have professional pianists come on special evenings and host performances for local music schools and choirs. Imagine people going out to dinner and listening to music as they dine al fresco? Or drinking coffee outside of Track 5 on those relaxing Adirondack chairs and listening to some tunes? And how pleasant would it be to be greeted by music after getting off the train/bus after a long day’s works?
I wish I could say this was my original idea but it has been done before in Paris, London and several other locations throughout Europe. I first heard about the concept in 2010 when my hometown of NYC installed 60 pianos all throughout the city. The initiative was developed by the not for profit Sing for Hope http://www.singforhope.org/pianos/ Pianos were donated and local artists painted them to give each a distinct personality. At the end of one month, the pianos were given to local schools and senior homes.
This public piano concept spread to Jersey City where Mayor Steven Fulop donated his own piano. On the night of its installation, a couple of garbage men saw the piano sitting in a pedestrian plaza on Newark Avenue and thought it was trash. They were literally about to put it in the back of the truck to be crushed to smithereens when a couple of good Samaritans stopped them just in time.
So back to Cranford. If we were to do this, how long would these pianos be there? The program in New York City ran for two weeks in June. So let’s start with that. After the 2 weeks, the piano(s) could either be donated to a local school or stored for next year if the initiative was deemed successful.
Next question- where would Cranford get the pianos? We could request donations from residents with unused pianos just sitting in their homes. There is also Craigslist. With enough searching, you can usually find a free one as long as you agree to pick it up and get it tuned. Right now there are three listed for free!
With the spring and summer months on the way, the Piano Keys of Cranford would be a great addition to an already incredible community. I can almost hear the chords resonating now through downtown Cranford!