Thieves in Bronx steal piano from public arts installation

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 29, 2011 3:18 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Memo to possibly musical and probably strong thieves -- a Bronx neighborhood wants its piano back.

A brightly colored piano that community residents joyfully plinked as part of a public installation of 88 pianos throughout the city's five boroughs vanished without a trace on Sunday night from a Bronx park.

"We're heartbroken," said Emily Walsh, director of operations for Sing for Hope, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes professional artists in volunteer service programs benefiting schools, hospitals and communities.

It was the first time one of the pianos, making their second summertime appearance throughout the city, had been stolen, Walsh said on Wednesday.

Making matters worse, a second piano was vandalized over the weekend in Fordham Plaza, also in the Bronx. Walsh said that piano is in the process of being repaired.

"At both locations, volunteer community organizations did a wonderful job caring for the pianos and encouraging local residents to try their hand at the keys," the organization said in a statement, noting "the joy and uplift that the pianos provided to these two communities during the project," which runs from June 18 to July 2.

But community residents have been moved to right the sour note struck by the theft.

"Of its own volition, the community has decided to go out and find a new piano to bring there," Walsh said of the Williamsburg Oval Park location.

"And that really speaks to the heart of how much it meant for them to have it there."

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Jerry Norton)