Further Up and Further In

So the other big house thing in the last couple weeks was something we’d talked about for a long time and finally decided to bite the bullet and do. We bought a piano.

The background: Ben is quite the musician; he attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (what a mouthful) in NYC–better known as the Fame school–where he played piano and trumpet, and in college he minored in trumpet performance. He decided against a career in music because he likes stability (hee), but he still plays trumpet in a community band and whenever he has access to a piano he plays for hours at a time. We had talked and talked about getting one but were daunted by the expense and hassle or getting one into the apartment, but last month we decided it was time. He picked out a Boston upright 49.5″ piano (it only came in a really shiny black, not the matte I liked, but oh well) and we arranged for the piano delivery company guy to come visit and see how they could get it into our 4th floor apartment.

I called to leave him a message. The voicemail recording was: “Thank you for calling Allston Piano Movers! The Fine way to move a Steinway!” I laughed for about 5 minutes. In fact, I’m giggling now. Is that not an awesome slogan?

Anyway, Bobby came out to look at our stairs and windows and after one glance at the stairs he said he’d never move a piano up them. A crane it was! We spent part of the weekend taking the big front window apart, with the help of our very patient and kind neighbor who has redone all of his. It’s 44″ wide by 54″ tall, with curved glass, and I was SO nervous about the whole thing. While the window was out Ben took the opportunity to replace the broken sash cord on one side and the worn one on the other, so now that window opens and closes really well. The weights inside the frame weigh about 20 pounds each.

I had made Ben promise he’d be the one to supervise the delivery, since the mere thought of a crane+piano+our apartment made me feel queasy, but he ended up with a meeting he couldn’t change, so I was on duty.

The crane man, piano truck and police detail all showed up right on time.

The impressively bearded window man climbed around to remove the storm frame.

And then all of a sudden while I was taking the photos of the window, the piano was off the truck, on the crane, and in the air! It took about 3 minutes. I sprinted downstairs to shoot a photo:

And then ran back up to see the inside part:

There were a couple interesting minutes while the enormous men hauled the piano in the window.

But before I knew it they were wheeling it down the hall to the dining room!

*Poof!* It was just under an hour from minute the crane showed up (before the piano/police) to the time the window guy finished putting the storm window back in. Amazing. I highly recommend Allston Piano Movers–it wasn’t cheap but they worked fast and carefully and made all the annoying permit arrangements, etc.

So now while I cook, Ben plays piano! It’s the loveliest thing. He mostly plays American Standards (think Ella Fitzgerald–all the great old Porter, Gershwin, etc. stuff), but he’s working on some more classical things, too. Also, the Pride & Prejudice piano score. I shot a shaky little video while I was in the middle of making dinner last night and Ben was playing that (he would be appalled to see this if he knew, and would insist on mentioning that the piano tuner hasn’t come yet!):

The kitchen was only that messy until I finished cooking, I swear!

ETA: Ben actually read the post and watched the video. His comment: “The piano is SO out of tune. I’m calling them right now.”

11 thoughts on “Further Up and Further In”

  1. Congratulations! I used to see Allston Piano Movers trucks almost ever day when I lived in Belmont and their slogan is on the trucks, too. I’m glad to hear they are as good as you say!

  2. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Many thanks for exposing some domestic bliss; the idea of piano playing and the sounds and smells of cooking… it fits.

  3. Wow – I don’t even think I could watch them put that in.
    When we had our couch disassembled & reassembled I couldn’t be in the same room.
    I get way too stressed.

  4. You are living a wonderful movie.

    Waiting to get the upright from my Mom’s house. It was shipped to them through the Panama Canal when we were stationed there in the 60’s. Then Mrs. E. will arrange music lessons for my daughter and herself. I hope to one day hear the strains of a little Cole Porter while I finish the dinner trays.

  5. This is completely unrelated to the piano, but I am so envious of your apartment. The brick building, lovely windows, floor to ceiling bookshelves. So sweet. -X

  6. 😀

    Thank you for the compliments, especially you boys… Mr. Elegant, you will love having the piano, and I think if the lessons are talked about as an exciting new thing to do with mom, it can be a joy instead of drudgery. Ben definitely found what he loved to play early on and focused on that.

    Xander- One of these days you’re going to have to move to temperate climes, where these old-fashioned buildings can be yours! An oven, too.

    Michelle, it went so fast I didn’t have as much of a chance to freak out as I was worried I would. Up the stairs would have been far worse!

  7. “Fine way to move a Steinway” is from the song “I Love a Piano” by Irving Berlin:

    I love a piano, I love a piano
    I love to hear somebody play
    Upon a piano, a grand piano
    It simply carries me away

    I know a fine way to treat a Steinway
    I love to run my fingers ‘oer the keys, the ivories

    And with the pedal I love to meddle
    When Padarewski comes this way
    I’m so delighted if I’m invited
    To hear that long haired genius play

    So you can keep your fiddle and your bow
    Give me a p-i-a-n-o, oh, oh
    I love to stop right beside an upright
    Or a high toned baby grand


  8. this is a little late, but as fellow musician in an old-Cambridge 3-family, I have to ask: how do you deal with the noise from the piano and neighbors?

    you have a beautiful home!

  9. Lisa! That is awesome. I sent to Ben and he said he knows the song but had forgotten that part of the lyrics! Thank you.

    Baersmom- We are fortunate in the layout of our building. We’re on the top floor and share our wing of the U-Shaped building with one other apartment. Our neighbor’s hallway is against our dining room wall, he says he doesn’t hear the piano. The only person who does is our downstairs neighbor, and she said she feels sad when she doesn’t get her little dinnertime concert! Ben plays really well and usually for a max of 45-60 minutes, around dinnertime, so it seems we’re not a nuisance, thank goodness.

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