Tuesday, April 19, 2016
At the NewYork City Sketch Crawl, I decided to do a sketch of the piano player in Washington Square Park. of course poplin performances Orlando are rare, being limited to 27 Blue Boxes. But in New York city, I saw performers everywhere I went, in subway stations, on street corners and in the park. I know that performers who start creating music at Lake Eola are often chased off by city employees. The only music allowed at that park is the cheesy elevator music that is broadcast through all the speakers that surround the lake so that you are forced to feel like you are walking around a shopping mall.
Every weekend, Colin Huggins and a buddy wheel the piano out of a store facility in Greenwich Village and the roll it through ten blocks of traffic to it's new home in Washington Square Park. Playing a Grand Piano outside means that the piano need to be tuned for an hour before each performance. Colin was once the music director for Joffery Ballet, but now his busking earns him a modest living.
The classical music was delightful, and park patrons filled the benches nearby to listen in. In Washington Square Park, performers have to register for performance times. Once the time is up, the need to move to a new spot to allow a note performer to use the spot. When this piano man had finished his set he closed the piano lid and rolled the piano away, probably to a new location where he would once again set up. Some people stood by the piano to sing along. A plastic bucket acted as the tip jar or hat and the many tips were well deserved.
Wouldn't it be nice if Orlando had just a fraction of the culture that can be found in a city like New York. Perhaps city officials will someday stop treating public performers like beggars and recognize that they liven up and add value to the streets and parks.