Help: How to move piano from Brooklyn to Providence?
July 8, 2009 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I am moving from Brooklyn, NY to Providence, RI next month. I have a full-size upright piano which needs to be moved. The problem is, my dream apartment in Providence is on the second floor and so the piano will either need 4-5 movers or a crane (as per a quote) because of the winding stairs. Piano movers have given me crazy expensive quotes (around $2000) which I cannot afford. I do have a quote for about $500 from local movers to unload the piano into the apartment from a truck, probably less if they can bring it up the stairs (that's with a crane). Which of the following options would you choose, or do you have another solution entirely? Any piano mover recommendations for NYC-Providence accepted!

(a) Hire a U-Haul and some piano movers to move my piano into the U-Haul on the NYC end, then load it up with the rest of my gear, drive to Providence, and have the local piano movers move it into the apartment on the other end?

(b) Same as (a) but try to find a few friends to move it? This makes me nervous, though there are very few stairs involved... just one stair to get into the building, one stair into the apartment, one stair into my bedroom where the piano is. Also, I'm worried about loading it in correctly.

(c) Get a regular mover to do the entire move? If I could do this under $1500, I'd probably opt for that.

(d) Use an interstate piano mover, who will be much cheaper? The only problem with this is that I don't think they'll come to the apartment to check out what is doable, and I cannot end up in a situation where I have the apartment and the piano can't be moved inside.

(e) Give up, and find another apartment. This one is sweet, though: working fireplace in the double parlor LR/DR, tons of light with big bay windows, backyard, screen porch, amazing rent, good neighborhood. It wasn't easy to find.

Thanks for your thoughts. The piano is 64" long, 28" deep, and 59" tall. It weighs a ton, almost literally (ok, maybe not, i think it weighs about 1000 lbs).

posted by betsbillabong to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It might be economical to get shipping bids on a site like and then hiring a local company for the move inside the house if your uship shipper can't do it. Good luck!
posted by gushn at 8:23 AM on July 8, 2009

Call The Music School and ask who they recommend for piano movers. They move them all the time. When the piano has been moved in, call Bill Calhoun to tune it.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:30 AM on July 8, 2009

If you choose option a try giving Death Wish piano movers a call for the Providence end.
posted by Gungho at 8:41 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how much pianos cost, but I'm wondering:

Is the cost of a new piano purchased in RI and delivered to the new apartment (less the sale of the current piano at its current location) less than the cost of moving the current piano to the new location?
posted by de void at 8:50 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

How good of a piano is it? How attached to it are you?

Upright pianos...they are frequently available cheap or free because of the difficulty of moving them. If I was you, I'd consider:
1) Sell the piano in Brooklyn
2) Move to providence
3) Buy a new piano
4) Get your friends to help you carry it up your stairs
5) budget to have a tuner come in and tune it all up.

That only works if you don't really care so much about _this_ piano. I'd also point out that like, your brooklynosis might be making you overvalue the providence apartment. There are a lot of good cheap apartments in providence, so much so that it seems crazy compared to brooklyn.

Alternatively, if the piano isn't super-valuable and you can handle some risk, I'd get my friends to load it onto the movers' truck and pay the movers to leave it on the sidewalk, then I'd get my friends to help haul it up the stairs.

Naturally, disregard all these ideas if its an awesome piano.
posted by jeb at 8:51 AM on July 8, 2009

If you have a decent or good piano, it really should be moved by piano movers. Even when moved by piano movers, a piano in a new environment will often need a series of tunings to acclimate it- every week for a month, every month for a year, and every six months thereafter or something like that. If it is moved by non-specialists, even if they are careful they may cause damage that will need to be fixed.

If you don't care about this piano and it is nothing special, sell it and buy a new one at your new home.

I don't know anything about pianos, just what I learned while my professional pianist partner worked on getting his baby grand moved across the country.
posted by arnicae at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2009

the apartment sounds great, so i wouldn't scrap that. but it sounds like it would be an issue getting any acoustic piano up the stairs, regardless of where it came from. i would not have your friends do it because i'm sure the last thing you want is someone to get really hurt (and also possibly try to sue you)--although by "one stair" do you mean "one flight of stairs" or do you literally mean "one step"? also, keep in mind that if it's not a dedicated piano mover, they might not be experienced with this sort of thing or be insured for the kinds of damage that could really ruin a piano, rendering the whole move moot.

if it isn't a matter of "it must be this piano," is an electric piano (not a keyboard, an electric piano) out of the question? because you can get pretty good ones for as much (or less) as it would cost you to move yours, and you wouldn't have to worry about spending that much the next time you move. also you don't have to get it tuned (at least, i don't think you do).

(personally, i would say "yes, it is out of the question" because i am piano picky, so i understand if it's not an option.)
posted by penchant at 11:26 AM on July 8, 2009

Seconding Death Wish. Those guys are INCREDIBLE.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:26 AM on July 8, 2009

Hey everyone,

Thank you for your suggestions. Keep them coming! A few clarifications:

- It's a piano that's been in my family for 100 years, so I am definitely keeping it.

- It's possible that I'm overvaluing this apartment; however, given Providence's parking situation, I have had a really hard time finding something near Brown (where I'll be teaching) with both fireplace and yard. But should I give it more time? It would be much easier to have a place on the ground floor.

- Death Wish were really nice; however, their quote was $2000. It only cost me $500 to move it from Pennsylvania to New York (almost the same distance)... I think it must be so expensive b/c they are Boston based and would have to drive to NYC?

posted by betsbillabong at 12:38 PM on July 8, 2009

Shot in the dark here...
You're teaching at Brown - are you teaching in the music department? If you are could they reimburse some of the expense of moving your piano because it would be a tool for your job?
posted by WeekendJen at 1:05 PM on July 8, 2009

You might like to read the answers I got to a piano-moving question. I ended up leaving the piano there when I sold the house.
posted by theora55 at 1:43 PM on July 8, 2009

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately, my moving expenses aren't reimbursed... I wish!

I have decided to go with movers to bring the piano into a U-Haul. That way I can take everything else in one go in the truck.

Does anyone have a recommendation for NYC-based piano movers that might move the piano into a U-Haul?

posted by betsbillabong at 6:37 AM on July 15, 2009

Just an update: whatever you do, do NOT use Beethoven Piano. They were the absolute worst. They completely scratched my piano by not padding it on the back where the metal D-rings dug into it over and over and over and over again on a three hour drive.

I don't have a better alternative, but they have been a nightmare to deal with, demanded cash up front, and are taking no responsibility.

Stay away from Beethoven Piano!
posted by betsbillabong at 1:48 PM on September 13, 2009

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