Piano Across America

12.28.12 Irina Dvalidze

It’s not often you see a man playing a piano in the middle of Midtown. Meet native New Yorker Dotan Negrin. On April 4, 2011 he left Long Island with a box-truck, a piano and his trusted Jack Russel-Chihuahua named Brando, embarking on a cross-country journey through the U.S. doing just one thing: playing his piano. Watch ANIMAL’s video about Negrin — the envy of anyone who’s ever wished to flee a cubicle, personified.

He has been to 53 cities, met hundreds of new people, gone through 6 different pianos and has never stayed at a hotel. Relying on kindness from strangers and Couchsurfing.com, he never really had to.

As a 2008 college graduate, Dotan faced the same bleak prospects as pretty much every single one of his peers. After a year of disappointing stints trying to launch a sustainable acting career while balancing two day jobs, he asked himself the question few have the courage to ask “What is my ideal life?”

So he quit the day jobs and that’s how Piano Across America was born.

His day begins much like anyone else’s, in search of a parking space. He drives his small red box-truck to a populated area, pulls out his sizable piano onto wheeled wooden crates and rolls it through the streets, with Brando snuggled on top, as businessmen in suites look on in envy and little kids squeal with excitement.

Through his journey Dotan has had one motto. “You owe it to yourself to do something extraordinary with your life.” Can’t argue with that reasoning.

Check out Dotan’s full journey here.

(A Cam/Edit: Aymann Ismail /ANIMALNewYork)
(B Cam: Irina Dvalidze/ANIMALNewYork)