A Piano Blog Post without Pianos...in Bushwick and Brownsville

Today I pitch raised and tuned a miniature upright piano in Bushwick in a homegrown basement recording studio - my client had covered the walls with century-old Sycamore reclaimed by divers from the Mississippi River Bed.  The wood is prized for it's unique character - aged by the silty water and eaten away in intricate swirls by the tiny denizens of the deep, the paneling oozes character. Insert picture here - unfortunately I was distracted by my host's battle stories from the music biz and I didn't have the presence of mind to document either the unique paneling or tiny piano.  Use your imagination...

However, I did take a fancy to this battered toy car on the sidewalk with it's innards poking out the top...

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A sense of the surreal is critical to my conception of the NYPIANOTUNER experience - here I stand on a narrow elevated concrete platform, waiting for the train to come and obscure my chain-linked view of Evergreen Cemetery. It eventually did - and I took the L to the 3 to Brownsville...

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...and tuned an upright piano that had somehow slipped a half step flat in 8 months - my client suspected that the former tuner was relatively incompetent, and he definitely must have done something strange to result in this situation - at the least he may not have tuned it to the official pitch standard of A at 440hz (concert pitch).  I say this because there were no obvious problems with the piano and the pins were more than sufficiently tight in the pin block.

After the tuning I was treated to some of the strangest music I've ever heard - a delirious mix of drunken sounding strings, horns, piano, homemade percussion instruments, and tortured whining vocals my client records in that very room with his bandmates - it was a characteristic NYPIANOTUNER moment.

And now for the day's visual documentation - more NYPT moments, sans the pianos this time. 20141211_143800

Part of the NYPT experience is the irony and philosophy I see everywhere in this concrete jungle - like the above advertisement. How depressing - especially in this dilapidated neighborhood.  Pssst...you can't buy happiness, and who among us can really "afford" not to be happy?  But I'm exhausted, and a Nesquik does sound delicious...

Another major piece of what I've come to call the NYPT experience is the incidental beauty the hyper-urban landscape - the combination of constructed form and its slow erosion at the hands of nature - decay, graffiti, stain, litter.

This blog was conceived to communicate three aspects of what I see as the experience of being a traveling piano technician in New York - the pianos, the people, and the places.  All three of which are imbued with the spirit of this strange, legendary city.

Here are some examples - more to come in future posts...

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