Steven Kurutz, The New York Times
As a classically trained pianist, Colin Huggins believes that he is “the only person to ever bring a piano into the subway.” Given that an average-size model weighs about 450 pounds, his claim, though impossible to verify, seems reasonable.
For the past few years, Mr. Huggins has been appearing in heavily trafficked areas like the Times Square subway station and Union Square Park, where he plays a console piano and is known to tourists and locals alike as “the piano guy.”
Hearing Beethoven’s “Für Elise” from a live piano player in the middle of Manhattan tends to evince wonderment and often provokes questions. “It’s a lot of ‘How did you get this here?’ ” Mr. Huggins said.
Mr. Huggins, 35, moved to New York ten years ago New York Street Pianist Colin Hugginsfrom Boston and has worked mainly as an accompanist for ballet dancers. On a lark, one weekend a few years ago, he rented a van and hauled a piano from his apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to Washington Square Park. When he netted $200 after just a few hours of playing, an act was born.
For his performances, Mr. Huggins uses not one but four pianos, which he bought on Craigslist and keeps in storage units around the city. Each unit is close to a favored busking spot, and the pianos are moved on dollies.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Mr. Huggins could be found on the fifth floor of a Manhattan Mini Storage at Varick and Spring Streets, readying a black piano with a scuffed top for a gig at Father Demo Square in the West Village, his regular spot.
Colin Huggins playing his piano in Washington Square Park on a winter’s day in 2012: