All around Austin there are painted and decorated pianos that have been placed outside in the elements for people walking by to sit down and enjoy. Austin shares this unique experience with the likes of London, Barcelona, New York, Bristol, Sydney, and even San Jose near our hometown. Not only am I blown away that Austin gets to experience something that these other cities get to enjoy, the actual piano tour experience itself is mind-boggling. If you get the chance to hear someone sit down and play who actually knows how to play, and if you're really lucky knows how to sing, the opportunity to be serenaded outdoors during a walk or even while kayaking is priceless.
For Brandon's Mother's Day present to me, he took me on a tour of the pianos. He knows me so well. I couldn't have asked for a better present, and, even better, he came up with the idea. The list of the piano locations on the website isn't quite up-to-date, as some of the pianos were only there for a month starting in April, so these are the ones we went to, which are still around. Our theory is the ones that are at commercial buildings have been taken down, but the ones on city property are still around. I am praying they stay around quite awhile, because it's an amazing experience! If you haven't had a chance yet, go see them.
The City Hall Plaza Piano had gorgeous golden light, even at the brightest part of the day. The steel overhang let just the right amount of light thru to cast a golden hue.
The Long Center piano had a stunning view. Equally stunning is the building surrounding it which has the long what I call mono-rail like Disneyland surrounding it. The piano sits behind one of the poles holding up the monorail.
The Butler Park piano (atop Doug Sahm Hill) has an arguably even better view than The Long Center piano, and sits atop a hill with stunning 360 degree views. Unfortunately one of those views has a bit of construction work right now, but when it is completed, that slight eyesore will be even prettier than before.
The 1st Street Pedestrian Bridge piano overlooks Town Lake aka Lady Bird Lake and sits across from my favorite graffiti on the railroad bridge that says "Focus one point and breathe." Such true advice, and from a graffiti artist. It amazed me how many people walk by this piano without even a glance in it's direction. I even heard one mother say to her child, "Don't touch." when the sole purpose of the piano is there for people to touch, to play, to share, to strengthen a community around a common interest from young to old, from those who play to those who appreciate the beauty of the moment.
Yes, they do.
These pianos are one of those simple joys of life.
The Fannie Davis Gazebo piano provides a waterfront view, with a fountain misting in the background on one side, and kayakers rowing by on the other. This was our last stop, and rightly so, we were serenaded by a man who decided to sit down and play for his enjoyment. The feeling of being in nature and hearing such a melodic sound is an insane out of the page of a storybook or a scene of a movie feeling.