My friend Marshall Goldsmith likes to hold his birthday parties at a piano bar called Don’t Tell Mama in midtown. I quoted the following from an email to him and couldn’t help sharing here.
A moment broke out last night that I had to tell you about.
I went to a park around the corner from my apartment to work on my laptop around 8 or 9pm. It’s a tiny park, smaller than some Manhattan apartments. It happens to be across the street from the Stonewall Inn. Here’s nearly the whole park from a picture I found online:
It’s near the 50th anniversary of the uprising so the West Village is upbeat and happy. The city or someone put a piano in the park when the weather warmed, a spot nearly in the middle of the picture. It’s painted colorfully, so people can see it’s there for fun, to be played. For the first hour I worked, every now and then someone would play a song, then walk away.
Then I guess we hit a tipping point for number of people within earshot, or maybe the right piano player was there for someone with a beautiful voice started singing.
The show tunes began. People stopped walking past and started gathering to watch. Imagine the far end of the park in the picture filled with people. The singer sang louder, the tunes became more sing-along. The crowd grew and sang along. We sang. We danced.
Don’t Tell Mama broke out in the park!
Spontaneous, fun, outrageous.
Total strangers singing along, dancing in the park.
I asked the woman next to me, “Is it me or is this a magical moment?”
She smiled, “It’s a magical moment.”
“Could it happen any place other than New York?”
“Only in New York.”
A magical New York moment that reminded me of your parties.
EDIT: A reader from Eastern Europe wrote:
I had a similar experience while I was lived in Prague. After leaving the tavern and a lot of Czech beer, we ended at this square. I remember my friend was playing the main tune from “Sting” movie – with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Hot summer nights in Prague – priceless!
He linked to the pictures below, so it’s not just New York:
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