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It's a Tough Time to Be a Street Musician With a 900-Pound�

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⦠Piano!! :o


NY Times article


For the last 15 years, Mr. Huggins, a slender and studious-looking man with tattooed hands, has been a superstar busker in Washington Square Park, performing to big crowds who fall under the sway of his balletic playing and the striking sight of seeing someone perform outdoors on a 900-pound Steinway. With his classical piano act, Mr. Huggins has earned enough money to survive modestly in New York for years, but that livelihood is held together by a delicately calibrated system, and the pandemic has obliterated it.




'Everyone just thinks of me as the piano guy and they want me to play my music,' he said. 'No one ever thinks about what I"m going through as a person during all of this.'


The other burden in Mr. Huggins"s life at the moment weighs 900 pounds: his 1959 Steinway baby grand. The enormous instrument is integral to his performances â he invites people to lie beneath it and be cocooned in a wall of sound while he plays â but playing it requires him to heave it to and from Washington Square Park constantly.


* He's moving a Steinway B around the City by himself. That's the 6'11" model, the second largest in (NY) Steinway's lineup, after the D. I commented that "A 6'11" Steinway B is NOT a 'baby grand.' It is a grand piano, period." I get tired of everything besides concert grands getting called "baby grands." This is the most ridiculous case I've seen. If he were moving a baby grand, he'd have a much easier time of it.


Anyway, I thought it's an interesting story to share, especially because most of us here don't want to move much more than a 25 lb digital piano!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck


"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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When I moved to Louisville as a full time musician I think it was at the time the 23rd largest city in the US. I moved from a small rural town to a city, but was still able to drive my pickup and haul my big keyboard rig from my apartment to jobs. I've always wondered what a deterrent it would be to live somewhere like NYC and need to move a big keyboard rig or drum set.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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I've always wondered what a deterrent it would be to live somewhere like NYC and need to move a big keyboard rig or drum set.
My wife and I had talked very seriously about moving to NYC for a couple of years after college, and you are describing one of several reasons we ultimately decided against it.

Samuel B. Lupowitz

Musician. Songwriter. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.

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Well, I hauled a CP70 and Rhodes to gigs when I lived in NYC â never to the outdoors to play for spare change though! I only had to shlep them up a flight of stairs, then go back to my car and spend up to an hour looking for a legal parking place (which was usually at least a half-mile from my loft). I tip my hat to this guy, but I got out of NYC in the mid 1980s and never looked back.
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I lived on the third floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn. Walk-up, obviously. At the time my rig weighed more than I did. This sentence is supposed to be the one where I say that it was fine and I got used to it, but it wasn't fine and I never got used to it.


BUT...that is part of the sunk cost of life in NY. You just know some things are going to be relentless P's ITA. The ones who stay are the ones who come to find it charming, which is fine, since people are all different, and the ones who leave are the ones who know that those who stay are deluded and pitiable psychopaths.

Now out! "Mind the Gap," a 24-song album of new material.

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