Mystery of piano on sandbar solved
Like many grand ideas, this one started out when many were drunk. And that’s how a burned baby grand piano found its way onto a mud flat in Biscayne Bay and, ultimately, worldwide fame.
The solution to the mystery involves a guy with a bagpipe, a rollicking New Year’s Eve party and a teenager looking to make a splash on his college admissions. Oh, and flammable liquid applied to a movie prop that was stored in Grandma’s garage for four years.
“We were peer-pressured into burning it,” said 16-yearold Nicholas Harrington, a high school student hoping to study art or engineering at New York’s Cooper Union college. Neither Nicholas nor the other teens were drinking.
The saga of the baby grand sitting peacefully atop the highest point of a tiny Biscayne Bay sandbar a few hundred metres east of Miami Shores actually began four years ago.
That’s when, after being used as a prop in a movie no one seems to remember, it went into storage in the garage of the mother of Burn Notice production designer J. Mark Harrington. It got dusty, its keys began to stick.
Then Nicholas had an idea: As a promotional video to get into college, he would make a video on the nondescript sandbar using the piano, bagpipes from a neighbour, and a small submersible sub used for studies at his school. So the family moved the piano the few blocks from Grandma’s place to their home.
“We were thinking of a big production, a music video epic,” Nicholas said. Never made it, though. That’s because this past New Year’s Eve, as a crowd of about 100 gathered at the Harrington home in Miami Shores, the chants to burn the piano got louder and louder.
The crowd was obliged: The heavy piano was lowered by davits into a canal next to the Harrington home, and set ablaze. The next day, after cooler heads prevailed, the piano was gently lifted onto the family’s seven-metre fishing boat. Then Harrington, his two sons and a neighbour set out for the sandbar — where they set the piano ablaze, again.