Colin Huggins, New York City's own Washington Square "Piano Guy," who drags his grand piano to the middle of the Manhattan park to play for strangers, is taking to social media to put on his impromptu shows.
Huggins, 42, has been playing piano around town since about 2007, drawing large crowds to his performances, which for some have inspired tears. A large part of the appeal, aside from his playing, is the ability to stumble upon him near the Washington Square Arch. Now that his stage has been moved online, it's uncharted waters.
"I’ve been pretty attached to Washington Square Park for the last 15 years," he tells us. "I’ve made some attempts over the years to develop ways of presenting my music to audiences on social media. But I think ultimately my best efforts are in how I connect with people in person. So it’s a little nerve-racking to be forced to go the social media route."
Huggins will be playing music for clips of famous movies live, from 7 to 9pm on Thursday night, on his Instagram account, @howdidyougetthepianohere. He'll keep updating his audience on the account for upcoming shows, too.
So far, his streamed performances have done quite well considering that he isn't busking in the iconic park. People have been donating to his Venmo (@everythingwillbeok), PayPal and Zelle (email@example.com) while watching his shows.
"People have been amazingly supportive," he said. "I’ve raised about half of what I need to pay my bills. At the moment I’m trying to change up how I’m doing the live feeds. I don’t want people‘s donations to be purely charity. I want to give them the best I can for their money."