Part Two of “Free the Street Piano,” as the Bored finally releases the hostage.


Part One is here.

I’m not sure where to begin in documenting the rampantly officious hypocrisy that has come to epitomize New Albany’s Board of Public Works and Safety, but let’s give it a try for posterity’s sake.

Since first approached by Hannegan Roseberry with a request to place an artistically adorned street piano under the awning at Jimmy’s Music Center on the corner of Pearl and Market, the board has gone out of its way to be unresponsive.

It tabled Hannegan’s request, then obscurely deflected responsibility first to an utterly befuddled Historical Preservation commission, then to an equally baffled Develop New Albany, before finally — weeks later — concluding that major liability issues precluded approval. These issues were explained in mind-numbing detail this morning by the city’s “corporate” attorney, Shane Gibson, who didn’t bother summarizing why they don’t matter for various trip hazards on city sidewalks … but I digress.

In short, it has been as though this board, handpicked by Mayor Jeff Gahan, has contrived to distill fifty years of underachieving, caterwauling, Luddite, top-down, ward-heeling insensitivity to modernity into one entirely unintentional crowning condemnation of New Albany’s political monetization “culture.”

In short, the Board of Works has sent up itself — parodied itself, made itself a laughingstock, tittered at the artsy-fartsy, donned the emperor Gahan’s brilliant new clothes, mimicked the movie Footloose, an embarrassed an entire city.

Today, having at last reassured itself that Jimmy Gaetano actually was on board with the idea of the piano sitting by his building, near the “Gahan for Mayor” sign in his window, which provides the single gut-funniest commentary in this entire theater of the absurd (naturally, any of the board’s members might have phoned Gaetano moments after the first request was made, but no), Hannegan’s request was approved unanimously.

Before you could extract a cash-stuffed envelope from a far-off Democratic Party PAC, the same city officials who have laboriously compiled a weeks-long record of pettiness on the Street Piano rushed to glad-hand Hannegan.

They have not read George Orwell, and they feel no shame. You can be sure they’ll now claim credit for what they did so much to impede.

Can anyone explain why this happened?