Life in Dumbo

Roughly 100 days has gone by since the explosion at 116 and Park and our new new location at Dumbo has been open since May 17. 

I don't know why they called it Dumbo? Greato would be better. It is kind of hard to define this place in a sentence.

Sometimes it seems positively deserted and like a small town and other times it is wild and woolly with a fascinating mix of characters that flow and ebb past our piano shop.

Recently we have been leaving a small spinet piano outside of the shop for passers by to play on.  It is fun to see people playing on it.

Yesterday I spied a rather curious fellow crossing the street with great difficulty as he seemed to be under the influence of some spirits( OK he was really drunk) and judging by his clothing the poor man was probably homeless as well. He made a beeline to the piano across Plymouth st and made his way to the piano( scaring the hell out of a mother and two kids that were playing chopsticks)

"Oh Boy I thought" He is going to be trouble. As I watched him lay his hands on that old Baldwin an extraordinary thing happened. Chopin nocturne flowed out of that old spinet . He did not seem drunk any more, just the opposite. He did not look at the keys just looked into some far away place through our shop window, he didn't seem to notice me standing only few feet from him inside. The Chopin ended and just with the same ease he began to play another piece I was unfamiliar with it sounded like Baroque music. His playing was truly magical and as the piece ended he seemed to notice me standing there. He seemed embarrassed and started muttering about the dust in the air as he wiped his face. He seemed to sense that I was curious and before I could say a word he brusquely cut in" how much is the Piano" in what seemed an eastern European accent, Russian maybe?I thought. I explained that the piano is there for the enjoyment of the walkers by and urged him to play some more even invited him to play on the grand pianos inside. He seemed nervous and anxious to leave and when he saw couple of people approaching the piano as if on cue he strolled of towards the Brooklyn bridge.

As a hardened New Yorker I am not impressed by much, I have pretty much seen it all from the con artist to the bs artist and beyond. This man left me awestruck and grateful to have shared that moment in time with him however brief. I wonder who he was and what terrible calamity or  circumstances brought him to live life on such a basic human level. Yet he seemed to have quiet dignity about him despite his appearance. Only in Dumbo.

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Posted on July 1, 2014 .