Pianos Contribute to the Sidewalk Ballet in Downtown Minneapolis

Hands-down my favorite part of downtown Minneapolis this past summer was the pianos on Nicollet Avenue. Not necessarily a new idea, to be sure, but I was struck by the talent of seemingly random players and the joy it gave passers-by. Any given morning on my walk from the train to the office I’d pass the piano in the City Center doorway to hear someone pounding out some excellent blues.

Most striking was the day I passed a homeless man camped out under his usual spot below a skyway on 7th Street one morning only to find him playing an intricate classical piece on the piano outside the DID pop-up store at evening rush hour. Serendipity, music and the urban dance. Keep up the good work, Mpls DID!

“The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations” – Jane Jacobs

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Sam Newberg

About Sam Newberg

Sam Newberg, a.k.a. Joe Urban, is an urbanist, real estate consultant and writer. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two kids, and his website is www.joe-urban.com.

2 thoughts on “Pianos Contribute to the Sidewalk Ballet in Downtown Minneapolis

  1. Jack

    You’re lucky, Sam. I have yet to hear anything other than bad renditions of ‘Chopsticks’ and ‘Heart and Soul.’

  2. Paul JahnPaul Jahn

    I love those pianos! Strangely, what gets it for me is how most of them are a bit out of tune. It kind of brings the “real” out for all who listen to and play them. Hacked away myself a few times and it’s just fun.

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