Where to play piano for free in NYC just once?
August 3, 2008 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Where to play piano for free in NYC just once? A out-of-town friend wants to play piano in NYC: are there public spaces with pianos? A way to play at a church? (And note: I just mean play for playing sake, not play for an audience.)
posted by Furious Fitness to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not NY specific but I've had luck in hotel lounges. Sit down, order a coffee, and play away.
posted by 913 at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is a general answer -
Try asking at hotels (probably, you'll have better luck with the smaller ones), pubs/bars and churches - for starters. I used to go piano-hopping/hunting when I was somewhat addicted to pianos; one can usually find pianos in hotels, pubs, churches, shopping malls, sometimes condomeniums/apartment blocks (my friend's service apartment in NYC had a piano on one floor)... and then of course there are piano/music shops and showrooms, music rooms belonging to college campuses (or just pianos that you find on college campuses), youth/rec/community centres/clubs, music schools and/or dance studios. In my experience, the Methodist churches seem the most generous when it comes to letting a stranger play their piano for a couple of hours (uh but ymmv). :)
I suppose it's usually better to ask for permission, but sometimes (when I knew I probably wouldn't get their permission if I asked explicitly) I'd just play pianos (especially hotel pianos) without asking); sometimes they'd stop me, sometimes they'd let me keep on playing, sometimes they'd let me keep on playing until I played something they didn't like (i.e. something that sounded non-lounge-piano-ish and more jarring).
(Someone should make a global piano-map.)
posted by aielen at 1:41 PM on August 3, 2008

I knew someone who would go to Steinway and pretend to be rich and interested. They seem to let you play without much hassle.
posted by milarepa at 2:07 PM on August 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Go to a piano store.
posted by Class Goat at 2:09 PM on August 3, 2008

Retirement homes... and you'll probably find a willing group of folks who appreciate the diversion...
posted by HuronBob at 3:06 PM on August 3, 2008

Guitar Center on 14th St.
posted by infinityjinx at 4:11 PM on August 3, 2008

When I stayed at the West Side YMCA (W. 63rd st) back in 2001, they had a grand piano in a room just beside the main entrance on the right. I was able to play on it and I think even someone not staying there would be able to as well (although the room is not closed off). The piano was not in good condition though.
posted by leibniz at 1:42 AM on August 4, 2008

Thanks everyone!
posted by Furious Fitness at 4:54 AM on August 4, 2008

Here's our city's most useful site for listings of practice rooms with pianos (some quite cheap).
posted by kalapierson at 6:39 AM on August 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

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