I was having a bad day, not feeling well after the last snow storm 2017 (we’ve got a blizzard coming in tomorrow March 14th…oh boy) and strolled over to one of my favorite people watching spots in the city, Washington Square Park and got lucky, Colin Huggins aka Crazy Piano Guy of Washington Square Park was there his hands on the ivory of his grand piano, playing Chopin when I sat down. Colin is fixture here in Washington Square Park, or at least the last 7-8 years to my recollection, he has been here more often than not, summer, winter, springtime and fall. Very talented yet self-effacing when he makes a mistake, points it out, however at the same time very opinionated on matters of politics and current events and in-between melodies will espouse his point of view clearly. Yet he sits on his five gallon container; no matching piano bench for the grand piano, playing his sets for passers- by and many who will just gravitate, surround and listen. His website’s link is at this end of this write-up if one is curious to know more about him. So the grand piano is kept at storage facility nearby that Colin rents outs, the piano is wheeled then through the streets to Washington Square Park to any one of multiple locations in the center of the park near the fountain, in the summertime he often competing with 5 or 6 other bards there at the park. He rolls his piano from a self storage on Spring Street the 3 days a week he plays publically, sets it up, tunes it before he plays.
Colin originally from Decatur Georgia, originally learned guitar but his dad had a collections of piano music that caught his eye and decided to take piano lessons 1994-1998, the age of 16 to 20 then stopped. He then went on to do odd jobs such as a baker and bicycle messenger. Eventually he became a ballet accompanist in Boston, wooing a young lady at the ballet. When their relationship ended, he packed his things and headed for New York City where he labored as an accompanist for the Joffrey Ballet for four years until the call of the street bard beckoned. Starting in Union Square, then Father Demo Square (which is actually a triangle…) where the locals there nicely requested that he move his performances elsewhere as the crowds were getting prohibitively large he would end up in Washington Square Park.
So in this image, later in the sets there was the most adorable little girl who kept walking back and forth by the piano. So Colin finished a song, and said hi to her. Then he asked who she was with, her mom beaming, pointed to herself. Colin asked if her mom would mind if the little girl would like to hear the music in a special way, the mom said yes, the little tike was enthusiastic too. So if you look in this image, you’ll see the little girl down under the piano where she stayed for the next two pieces until Colin finished up. Saw her father who her mom tracked down video-taping his daughter under the piano. Smiles and fun all around…..
So if you are in Greenwich Village, near Washington Square Park and you think you hear some beautiful Chopin or Liszt’s “Un Sospiro”, you are not hearing things, it will probably be Colin playing at the park, and if you are not a in hurry, it will be worth the walk over to listen to him tickle those ivories.
Taken with Olympus E-5 using an Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD lens processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Tagged: , #NEWYORK , #NEWYORKCITY , #NY , #NYC , OLYMPUS , OLYMPUSE-5 , WASHINGTONSQUAREPARK , COLINHUGGINS , CRAZYPIANOGUY , PIANO , GREENWICHVILLAGE