Wandering musician takes piano where no piano has gone before

CATSKILL PARK, N.Y. -- Catskill Park in upstate New York has 700,000 acres of emptiness. So of all the things you might expect to see emerging from the morning mist, a guy pushing a piano probably isn't one of them.

And yet that's exactly what we found: Dotan Negrin pushing 400 pounds of piano through the wilderness. Has he never heard of a harmonica?

"That's why I do it," he said. "I do it because not everybody can do it. I do it for the challenge."

And really this isn't just about the challenge of hauling a piano to an improbable place -- this is more about the joy it brings once it gets there.

Needless to say, for beachgoers, it beats the heck out of listening to someone else's boom box. And for Dotan, it beats playing pretty much anywhere else.

"I get to play piano in this amazing setting," he said. "It's like this beautiful auditorium."

And Catskill Park is just the latest stop in his "Piano Around the World" tour. He started in 2010, quit his job as an art mover in New York City, and began moving his piano instead. He has traveled literally from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters of Key West.

hartmanotrpiano-man0904-transferframe3854.jpg
Dotan Negrin plays the piano at a beach in Catskill Park, N.Y. CBS News

He has taken the thing to Central America and Europe too, always finding an unlikely place, even in the most well-traveled cities.

Dotan pays for this through tips and donations. A woman once gave him a hundred Francs. So far he has barely broken even. But so far it hasn't mattered much.

"I wanted to wake up every morning excited to see what would happen next," he said. "That way, like, when I'm on my death bed I can look back and be like, yea, I did this awesome thing when I was 24."

Some pianists dream of Carnegie Hall -- but Dotan Negrin dreams even bigger.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, e-mail us.

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.