How to move a trio of heavy pianos down a Germantown Ave. block [Video]

Curiosity seekers would have been well-served to check out Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill on Monday. There, they would have been greeted by the unusual sight of pianos hovering above the sidewalk.

It was a quirky journey, one that saw three pianos moved the grand total of one city block.

Two professional-studio upright models each weighing 350 pounds, and a baby grand that tips the scales at 600 pounds, were relocated from Maplewood Music Studio’s former Gravers Lane Gallery location to their new spot above the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, 8509 Germantown Ave.

Rich Rudin, founder and director of Maplewood Music, which also has a location in Germantown, explained that he knew he wanted to stay in the neighborhood when his lease expired.

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Hence, the novelty act of moving three pianos a tenth-of-a-mile.

How’d they do it?

The only way to get the pianos into the new location was through a second-floor window.

“The stairs were just too narrow,” said Kevin Duffy, owner of Duffy Piano Movers, a business which dates back to 1895. “The problem was the height of the stairway. It just wasn’t high enough to get them up the stairs.”

All three pianos are from Germantown’s-own Cunningham Piano, located at 5427 Germantown Ave. (“We’re very happy that Maplewood Music uses our pianos,” said Rich Galassini, co-owner of Cunningham Piano, who attended the relocation event.)

The three-man moving crew consisted of Duffy, Jim Gibbons and Jesse Gibson. They carried the pianos down the stairs of the Gravers Lane Gallery location.

Gibbons said the heaviest piano he’s moved was a Mason & Hamlin concert grand piano that weighed about 1,400 pounds.

“They’re heavy, of course,” Duffy admitted, “but we know the right way to move them.”

When a crane arrived, the pianos were lifted up and through the windows within 20 minutes.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Angelo DiPinto, owner of nearby Angelo’s Barber Shop. “They make it look easy.”

Won’t move again anytime soon

In September, Maplewood Music Studio will celebrate 33 years in Northwest Philadelphia. Rudin said Monday that he’s happy with the new location.

“We’re only moving down the street from where we were,” said Rudin. “If anything, we’re more visible here. All of our students are coming with us, and we hope more will join.”

So is Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop owner John Ingersoll, who has already taken a shine to his new tenants.

“Who doesn’t like music?” asked Ingersoll. “What could be better?”

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