City Still: An Erogenous Zone of Urbanity

Summer Piano

Recently the city initiated the summer outdoor installation of pianos, graciously volunteered by musicians, for the impromptu use and enjoyment of passers-by. The pianos were located near existing pedestrian pathways and in such places as to introduce an island of music in the hubbub of the city.


Some were painted in soft hues that added a touch of fancy and all were provided a token anchoring system and a rain and night time waterproof cover. No vandalism was declared at the end of the experiment.

In the above case, the piano was installed near a landscaped area next to a public library and community cultural center, and on the edge of the pedestrian “eddy space” next to a bus stop, located behind the photographer.

To use more precise terms the piano was located at the back of a pedestrian setting  with very porous limits, along the edge of a concrete planter usually occupied by people waiting, reading, etc.

Does music really soften urban mores … were the pianos seen as such a natural outgrowth of where they were installed as to promote civility … or did their active and passive use by passers-by prompt such friendly conversation with the piano player as to nip in the bud all uncivil thought or intent?

As the saying goes, it probably just “hit the spot” … one of the city’s own “erogenous” zones of urbanity!

P.S.: Because of this aura, not so curiously, this area has turned into  the operation basis for the local crutch bearing con artist that smooth talks the unsuspecting target for a ten or more, for cab fare, given her condition … having been one of them I speak from experience!


Photo and collage credit Maurice Amiel

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