Frank Owens

Piano in the Park

I find traveling through the boroughs en route to Manhattan to be a test of endurance. 

There’s always traffic, obviously since we’re a big city, so I avoid weekday travel into the city as much as possible. However, when that weekday is a holiday, well, then it’s a wonderful time to be there. For me, one of the little perks of being in the city, is discovering yards and gardens even smaller than my own. Much smaller…

Urban Garden

Some of the other perks are the general sights and sounds.

 

The chatter, the horns, the emergency sirens. It’s all part of the landscape. As are towering skyscrapers – skyscrappers so high they dwarf the trees.

Despite all this wonder and majesty, I normally find the city overwhelming. But yesterday, Labor Day, was quiet in comparison to the regular everyday hustle. And so, we enjoyed a blissful lunch in Bryant Park while the magnificent Frank Owen entertained us with his imcomparable piano playing.

  

Piano in the Park, as it is called, features top New York Pianists playing music from Scott Joplin (my absolute favorite), Eubie Blake, the Gershwins and more. 
Every weekday from noon until 1:45, anyone can sit under the umbrellas or trees and soak up the toe-tapping music and city atmosphere. That is precisely what we did yesterday and loved every minute of it.
  

Of course… this IS New York, and a tiny scuffle or run-in with the law is neither unexpected nor disruptive.

You see, despite the police presence, which grew slighty and steadily until this gentleman vacated the premises as requested, the show indeed went on.

In fact, it went on so wonderfully that during Frank’s phenomenal piano playing, a hand-written note was passed among the audience. The note stated that yesterday was Frank’s birthday and so, when he stood to thank us all for coming, we should all stand and sing, Happy Birthday. Say what you want about New Yorkers, but we are a pretty cool bunch, each of us poker-faced after reading the note and nonchalantly strolling to the next person with it in hand. And every one of us standing at the end and joining in to wish this accomplished musician a wonderfully happy birthday.

He said we made his day. I must correct him. He made ours. 

(Please excuse the camera shake – I took this video with a tiny digital camera)

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